Hapoel Tel Aviv strikers Toto Tamuz and Ben Sahar.
(photo credit: Hapoel Tel Aviv website)
Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Tel Aviv maintained the status quo at the top of the
Premier League standings on Saturday, with both teams claiming easy home
victories to pull further ahead of the rest of the league.
to a 3-0 win over Maccabi Netanya at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium while Hapoel
thrashed Hapoel Ramat Gan 4-0 at Bloomfield Stadium.
Tomer Hemed scored
Haifa’s opener in the 30th minute, with Eyal Meshumar tucking in the rebound
from Yaniv Katan’s missed penalty 11 minutes into the second half, and Vladimir
Dvalishvili wrapping up the scoring six minutes later.
“We are improving
with every match,” said Greens coach Elisha Levy, whose team has now won four
straight encounters by a combined goal difference of 10-1. “We know there is
still plenty of room for improvement, but the most important thing is that we
make sure we are ready for the championship playoff.”
Hapoel moved into
the lead at Bloomfield through Ben Sahar’s 20th-minute strike and was in cruise
control by the break after Douglas da Silva scored with a header from an Eran
Zahavi corner 15 minutes later.
Saturday’s match was likely da Silva’s
last as a Tel Aviv player, with the Brazilian defender on the verge of
completing his transfer to Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg for a fee believed to
be in the region of 2.8 million euros.
Toto Tamuz (59) and Shay Abutbul
(88) improved the reigning champion’s goal difference in the second half, with
da Silva being given a standing ovation by the fans when he was substituted five
minutes from time.
“This was a night of mixed emotions because of
Douglas’s imminent departure,” said Hapoel coach Eli Gutman of the defender who
is expected to leave when the January transfer window opens. “He is the
foundation of our defense, but I understand that he needs to be allowed to
further his career in Europe. We are looking for a replacement and I believe we
will find a suitable one.”
Meanwhile, Betar Jerusalem bounced back from
last week’s loss at Hapoel Acre to claim its fourth victory in five matches,
beating Ironi Kiryat Shmona 1-0 at an empty Teddy Stadium – due to previous fan
unruliness – thanks to Aviram Bruchian’s 54th minute free kick.
Shmona was the better team, but I’m happy to take the three points even when we
play poorly,” Betar coach Uri Malmilian said. “We didn’t play well and I hope
that when the league returns to action in two weeks we will be
After its impressive start to the season, Kiryat Shmona is now
winless in its last four matches, losing two straight.
Hapoel Acre and
Maccabi Petah Tikva closed to within one point of Kiryat Shmona with victories
Acre defeated Bnei Sakhnin at Doha Stadium through Cristian
Danalache 41st-minute own goal.
Petah Tikva extended its unbeaten streak
to six matches, beating Bnei Yehuda 3-0 at home. Omer Golan (5), Yossi Ofir (13)
and Sebastian Sansoni (34) scored for the hosts, handing Dror Kashtan’s men
their third straight defeat.
Also Saturday, Ashdod SC defeated Hapoel
Ashkelon 3-2, with Nir Biton (20, 71) and Moshe Ohayon (67) scoring for the
hosts, while Mahmoud Abbas (47, 88) netted consolation goals for
Hapoel Petah Tikva hosts Hapoel Haifa on Sunday, with Maccabi
Tel Aviv visiting Hapoel Beersheba on Monday.