BRAZILIAN STRIKER Leonardo Passos Alves celebrates 311.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
After going win-less for eight consecutive matches and dropping into the
relegation zone, Betar Jerusalem won its second straight game on Sunday night,
defeating rock-bottom Hapoel Petah Tikva 1-0 on the road to take a significant
step to securing its topflight status.
Just like in last week’s 2-1 win
over Maccabi Netanya, Betar was far from impressive at the Moshava Stadium, but
it once more dug deep and showed the resilience it will require if it’s to
triumph in the battle against relegation.
Brazilian striker Leonardo
Passos Alves scored the only goal of the match after just four minutes thanks to
Steven Cohen’s surge forward and delicate through ball.
dominated the possession after that, but it was Betar which reached the better
chances. However, neither would find the back of the net, with Petah Tikva
losing hope of a comeback eight minutes from time after Jonathan Assous was
shown a straight red card for elbowing Cohen in the face.
“Until now we
had lost our matches against our rivals in the bottom of the standings,” Betar
coach Yuval Naim said. “We didn’t play a great match once more, but we were
determined and tactically sound and this is a massive win.”
Tikva, which was always going to struggle to survive after beginning the season
with a ninepoint deduction, Sunday’s loss was a crushing blow to any lingering
hope it may have had of remaining in the Premier League.
The defeat to
Betar leaves it nine points back of safety and it would be truly astounding were
it to ever make it out of the relegation zone this season.
Hapoel Tel Aviv deteriorated from a state of disarray into complete chaos on
Sunday after its chairman Doron Osidon, CEO Nir Inbar and press officer Kobby
Barda simultaneously resigned in protest of owner Eli Tabib’s running of the
The backbone of Hapoel’s management decided it no longer wanted
anything to do with Tabib following his handling of the sacking of coach Dror
Kashtan last Monday.
Kashtan was shockingly fired in a transatlantic
phone call by Tabib, who spends much of his time in Miami, Florida, with Nitzan
Shirazi being brought in as a replacement two days later.
thought that I’d be embarrassed with the way the club is being run,” Osidon
said. “I came here with great energy to help promote the club, but I don’t want
to have any part in what is going on here at the moment.
“I tried to
think of ways to improve this situation, but couldn’t come up with any. In the
last year-and-a-half Hapoel Tel Aviv has been occupied by gossip and not soccer.
It is about time the club starts to focus on professional matters and not on
everything else that surrounds it.”
Tabib promised that it won’t be long
before he brings in replacements and denied rumors that he has plans to sell the
club following the growing discontent both in the clubhouse and in the
However, in the meantime, Hapoel’s players have to block out all
the off-field distractions and produce results on the pitch to remain in the
title race, starting with Monday night’s match at Hapoel
Ironically, Shirazi’s first match at the helm will be against the
club he left less than two months ago following a dismal start to the season,
and with Tel Aviv trailing league-leader Kiryat Shmona by 12 points, the Reds
can’t afford anything but three points at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.