Betar gets back on track

yellow-and-black beat Maccabi Petah Tikva 2-0 at Teddy Stadium; Ton Caanen and Maccabi Tel Aviv ended in game with Upper Nazareth in scoreless tie.

By SHARON SOLOMON
January 1, 2006 03:07

 
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Betar Jerusalem is back to winning ways. Manager Luis Fernandez secured his first victory as acting coach when the yellow-and-black beat Maccabi Petah Tikva 2-0 at Teddy Stadium Saturday night in Matchday 15 of the Premier League. Ton Caanen capped off a hectic week as head coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv with a modest 0-0 draw with Motti Ivanir's Upper Nazareth. Ashdod SC and new signing Blessing Kaku got off to a positive start by defeating Bnei Yehuda 2-0, while Maccabi Netanya managed a 2-1 victory at Kfar Saba. Hapoel Petah Tikva and Bnei Sakhnin parted with a point each following a goalless stalemate. The matchday will conclude Sunday night at Bloomfield Stadium when Dror Kashtan's Hapoel Tel Aviv hosts reigning league champion Maccabi Haifa. This will be Yaniv Katan's farewell game with the greens as he is leaving the club for West Ham United and fellow Israeli Yossi Benayoun. Kashtan is not planning any big changes in his lineup and talented forward Elyaniv Barda, who left Haifa last summer after a rift with coach Roni Levy, will continue to start on the bench. Betar Jerusalem 2,Maccabi Petah Tikva 0 The home team attacked from the beginning and endangered Ohad Cohen's goal with some well-crafted attacks by Maor Melikson and Barak Yitzhaki. The hard work paid off in the 44th minute. Jeff Totuana's powerful kick from 30 meters was fisted away by Cohen straight towards Omri Afek, who coolly headed the ball over the helpless goalkeeper and gave the yellow-and-black the lead. Petah Tikva tried to produce a comeback, but fell two goals behind in the 66th minute. Aviram Bruchian navigated a quick counterattack and found Afek in the box, who unselfishly passed the ball to Totuana. Cohen deflected Totuana's shot, but Yitzhaki tapped in the rebound and sealed the game. Upper Nazareth 0,Maccabi Tel Aviv 0 Ton Caanen has his work cut out in Maccabi Tel Aviv. The yellow-and-blue couldn't break through the Nazareth defense and returned home with only one point, hurting it's chances to fight for second place in the league standings. Eyal Berkovic tried to initiate some attacks in midfield, but his teammates were inaccurate and failed to reach Oshri Levi's box. The most exciting event of the match was when Christian Gonzales's was sent off in the 85th minute, after the Maccabi sweeper deliberately handled the ball while trying to foil a Nazareth attack. Maccabi Netanya 2,Hapoel Kfar Saba 1 Last-place Kfar Saba proved yet again that it doesn't possess the quality required to survive in the Premier League, as Netanya prevailed thanks to two quick goals in the first half. Striker Papi Kimoto was in position in the 17th minute to score the first and Israel Zviti sent in a fierce drive from 20 meters in the 32nd minute to give the visitors a convincing 2-0 lead. Kfar Saba scored the consolation goal in the 77th minute. Substitute Shalev Menashe made a swift run on the left flank and squared the ball for Zoran Rayovic, who provided a clinical finish. Hapoel Petah Tikva 0,Bnei Sakhnin 0 Three thousand fans showed up at the Petah Tikva Stadium for a dull and uninspired draw. The game was played at a slow pace and did not live up to expectations, with Brazilian striker Gabriel Lima failing to impress in his last game as a Sakhnin player. Lima has decided to leave Israel and will start playing in South Korea next week. Ashdod SC 2,Bnei Yehuda 0 New signing Blessing Kaku is already making a mark in Ashdod. The dynamic Nigerian midfielder was in peak form and the hosts easily won the game without facing any real resistance from the visitors. Ashdod took the early lead when veteran striker Shai Holtzman took full advantage of a mixup in the Bnei Yehuda defense and tapped in from close range in the eighth minute. The hosts doubled their lead in the 45th minute when Emanuel Oviede made an impressive run and finished off with a low shot.

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