Haifa derby ends in disappointing draw

Steady stream of Green pressure yields no results as Mac, Hap go scoreless.

November 23, 2010 02:58
2 minute read.
THE BATTLE for Haifa ended without a victor, as ne

Haifa Derby 311. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)

Hapoel Haifa held Maccabi Haifa to a 0-0 draw at Kiryat Eliezer on Monday night, extending its unbeaten streak to five Premier League matches while denying its bitter rival a chance to move tied on points with top-of-the-table Ironi Kiryat Shmona.

Hapoel ended a seven-match losing streak against the Greens with a goalless draw when the teams last met last season, and Monday’s result means that it has avoided defeat to its illustrious opponent on two consecutive encounters for the first time since 2001.

“We did everything we could to win,” said Maccabi coach Elisha Levy, whose team hasn’t won consecutive matches since the first two weeks of the season.

“It is very difficult to play against such a defensive setup, but that is no excuse.

We weren’t creative enough.”

Despite dropping two points, Levy remains confident Maccabi can challenge for the championship.

“The title race is wide open,” he said.

“We are well placed towards the top of the standings. I’m not pleased with the way we are playing, but considering the circumstances, we are very close to where we want to be in the table.”

The Greens knew an early goal would be of crucial importance and they very nearly got their wish.

In the sixth minute, Mohammad Ghadir shot straight at ’keeper Tvrtko Kale and moments later Yaniv Katan’s attempt flew just over the Hapoel crossbar.

However, the visitors asserted themselves as the match progressed and deserved to have the lead at the break.

Eden Ben-Basat came close in the seventh minute, but the best chance of the first half would fall to Hanan Maman 25 minutes later.

The son of Maccabi legend Baruch Maman found himself with only goalkeeper Nir Davidovich to beat, but he failed in the relatively simple task of slotting the ball into the back of the net and the hosts were spared.

Two minutes later, Katan came centimeters from giving Maccabi the lead, but his shot with the outside of his right foot slammed off the crossbar, and the half would end in a goalless deadlock.

Eight minutes after the break Davidovich had to fully stretch himself once more to keep out Ben-Basat’s dangerous free kick, but Maccabi began to dominate as the match progressed, eventually seizing complete control of the field.

However, for all their possession, the Greens rarely threatened Kale’s goal, with Hapoel’s defense successfully repelling Maccabi’s attacks.

Maccabi fans had to wait until the 72nd minute before seeing Katan register the Greens’ first real shot towards goal in the second half, but the ball was well off target.

The hosts continued to pile the pressure in the remainder of the game, but to no avail, with Hapoel comfortably holding on for an important point.

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