Maccabi Haifa players celebrate 370.
(photo credit: Allon Sinai)
Hapoel Beersheba’s Premier League title challenge continued to gather pace on
Saturday night, with the southerners returning to the top of the standings with
a 3-1 victory against Hapoel Haifa at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.
extended its unbeaten run to six matches and leapfrogged Maccabi Tel Aviv into
first place, at least for 24 hours, thanks to its fourth win in its past five
Haifa took the lead through Oshri Roash’s goal in the 23rd
minute, but it didn’t take the visitors long to level the score, with Dovev
Gabai equalizing six minutes later.
The tight encounter turned on its
head following two red cards within five second- half minutes, with Haifa
finding itself down to nine men after Danilo Nikolic (55) was sent off for
pulling down Elyaniv Barda and Yuval Avidor (59) was given his marching orders
following a reckless challenge on Siraj Nasar.
Nasar would fire the
visitors into the lead in the 72nd minute with his clever shot from the edge of
the box before Tomer Swisa clinched all three points with a solo effort two
minutes from time, handing Haifa its fourth straight loss.
“We showed our
character by coming back from a goal down, and not for the first time this
season,” said Beersheba coach Elisha Levy. “It is important to be in first
place, but it is far more important to build on our good start to the season and
continue to improve.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv can return to first place on
Sunday night with a draw or a win against Beitar Jerusalem at Teddy
New Beitar coach Roni Levy will watch the match from the stands
after being appointed as Eli Cohen’s replacement on Friday. Cohen was sacked
last week following Beitar’s third straight loss.
Levy, who guided
Maccabi Haifa to three consecutive championships between 2004 and 2006, coached
Beitar for six months before leaving the club in the summer of 2011 to join
Romanian team Steaua Bucharest.
Levy resigned just three months later and
guided Anorthosis Famagusta to a fourth-place finish in the Cypriot league in
2011/12 before being fired in April of this year.
Maccabi Haifa continued
its recent resurgence with its fourth straight victory on Saturday, beating the
sorry Bnei Yehuda 2-0 at Bloomfield Stadium.
After a poor first half,
Spanish midfielder Rayo scored twice within 10 minutes (49, 59) to give the
Greens all three points and keep them within striking distance of the
Bnei Yehuda, which was guided by interim coach Ya’akov Asayag
following Dror Kashtan’s resignation last week, remained in last place after
losing for the 10th time in its past 12 matches.
Despite losing its first
seven matches of the season, Hapoel Ramat Hasharon climbed out of the relegation
zone on Saturday, beating Maccabi Petah Tikva 2-0 courtesy of goals from Michael
Zandberg (81) and Emir Hadzic (87).
Ramat Hasharon is unbeaten in its
past five games, while Petah Tikva dropped to its second straight defeat since
Yitav Luzon replaced Moshe Sinai as coach.
Bnei Sakhnin remained in third
place with a 1-0 victory at Hapoel Ra’anana on Saturday, with Mohammad Ghadir
scoring the winner in the 78th minute.
Also Saturday, Hapoel Acre beat
Ironi Kiryat Shmona 2-1. Juliano Spadacio (35, 63) scored for Acre, with Tamir
Kahlon (70) netting a consolation goal for the visitors.
Hapoel Tel Aviv
hosts Ashdod SC on Monday.