(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
After 11 unbeaten matches and nine wins over the past 10 games, Arik Benado
suffered his first defeat as Maccabi Haifa coach on Sunday night.
lifted Haifa from the relegation zone up to second place over recent months, but
the Greens dropped to a frustrating 2-0 defeat to Bnei Yehuda at Bloomfield
Stadium on Sunday to remain eight points back of league-leader Maccabi Tel
Haifa dominated the hosts at the start of the match, with Weeam
Amasha squandering two tantalizing scoring opportunities within the first five
Bnei Yehuda was content on sitting back and soaking up the
pressure and it also rode its luck before taking the lead in the 20th
Pedro Galvan expertly curled the ball into the bottom left corner
with a free-kick from 25 meters out, leaving Haifa keeper Bojan Saranov with no
Haifa captain Yaniv Katan hit the crossbar with a free-kick
in the 33rd minute and a sensational performance by Bnei Yehuda ‘keeper Dele
Aiyenugba kept the Greens at bay before Ness Zamir clinched the three points for
the hosts with an 85thminute goal.
“I would like to congratulate Bnei
Yehuda on the win, but we outplayed them in every facet of the game,” said
Benado. “We played well, but sometimes this is just the way it is in
This was just one of those days when the ball refused to go
Betar Jerusalem, meanwhile, fell to its second straight league loss
on Sunday, dropping to sixth place in the table following a 1-0 defeat at Hapoel
Ramat Hasharon, which climbed up to fourth position.
Efraim Taka scored
the winner in the 84th minute and Betar lost by a 1- 0 score-line for a second
consecutive time after falling at the hands of Bnei Yehuda last
“This is a painful loss for us because we were in control for much
of the match,” said Betar coach Eli Cohen, who was bombarded by swears from a
group of Betar fans throughout the match following the signings of Chechen
Muslims Dzhabrail Kadiyev and Zaur Sadayev.
“We reached three chances
from which we usually score, but everything that is surrounding the club
affected us. We haven’t dropped in form in recent weeks, but our concentration
has suffered because of all that has happened. However, we will overcome this
just like we overcame storms in the past.”
Meanwhile, Hapoel Tel Aviv
looks set to complete the signing of Almog Cohen on a loan-deal until the end of
the season on Monday.
The 24-year-old Israel international made just nine
appearances for Nuremberg in the German Bundesliga this season and is hoping to
join Hapoel in the hope of seeing more playing time.
The Reds will also
be desperate to complete the deal with the midfielder ahead of next week’s derby
versus Maccabi Tel Aviv, with Hapoel’s squad currently ravaged by injuries.