Hakoach has the power to draw

Betar survives penalty scare but still drops points at Teddy.

By JEREMY LAST, SHARON SOLOMON
October 1, 2006 01:35
3 minute read.
Hakoach has the power to draw

betar jlem 298.88. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)

 
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Betar Jerusalem goalkeeper Itzik Kornfein was the hero as the yellow-and-black survived a last-minute penalty kick to draw 0-0 with Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan in a Premier League match at Teddy Stadium on Saturday night. When Hakoach's Shlomi Edri tumbled in the Betar penalty area from a challenge from defender Tomer Ben-Yosef after 88 minutes, referee Eli Chachmon immediately pointed to the spot, despite television replays casting doubt over whether it was a foul. But justice was done when Betar veteran Kornfein dived to the right and saved the spot kick from Yossi Rosen. The result meant the Jerusalem side dropped its first points of the season, having won its first three matches, but stayed at the top of the league standings with 10 points. Speaking after the game, Betar manager Ossie Ardiles admitted his team had not played well enough but was adamant the referee had got the penalty decision wrong. "I do not think it was a penalty," Ardiles said. "It was a very harsh decision." Reflecting on the match, he added: "I am disappointed because we dropped two points. We need to keep working and we must play better. We didn't play at our best. We are in the process of making this team and we have a lot of new players." Throughout the game, the home side had the lion's share of the possession, constantly putting pressure on the newly promoted Ramat Gan. But Betar was unable to break through despite the early introduction of striker Amit Ben-Shushan in place of Barak Yitzhaki in the 35th minute. Toto Tamuz also came on in the second half and Betar constantly pumped the ball forward, but had to be satisfied with a draw. "Betar is an amazing team with top class players," said Ramat Gan coach and Betar legend Uri Malmilian after the game. "But I'm not afraid of any team and I come to every game looking for the win. We gave a heroic performance and it's a pity we missed out on the win with the missed penalty." Hapoel Kfar Saba 1,Maccabi Netanya 1 Eli Ohana's Hapoel Kfar Saba hoped to get back on the winning track against Maccabi Netanya, but Eli Guttman's squad played a defiant game. "We have seven points from four games," Ohana told reporters after the game. "We are not going to win the championship this season. I am quite satisfied with this hard earned point. I must say that we were the better team today and created more chances in front of goal." Netanya came out with its trademark attacking formation and struck gold in the opening stages of the game with a well-constructed raid. Former Colorado Rapids winger Dedi Ben-Dayan made a solid run on the left flank and crossed the ball into the greens' box. Okocha was lurking unmarked in the area and provided a clinical finish, giving the visitors the lead in the 13th minute. But the hosts found the equalizer in the 35th minute when Brazilian striker Jose Duarte scored his second goal of the season with a tricky long-range strike that sent Liran Strauber the wrong way. Both teams produced impressive offensive efforts in the second half also, but nothing broke the deadlock. Hapoel Petah Tikva 0, Maccabi Petah Tikva 1 About 5,000 fans filled the Petah Tikva stadium to witness the first derby of the season, with Hapoel goalkeeper Rafi Cohen celebrating his 500th appearance in the Premier League. Despite a lackluster and defensive effort, the "Luzons" collected all three points thanks to a Blessing Kaku strike in the 65th minute, which came after a terrible mix-up in the Hapoel defense. Maccabi Tel Aviv 1, Ashdod SC 0 Eli Cohen's squad entered the game without veteran Avi Nimni, who sustained a groin injury prior to the game. The influential captain's absence affected the team's resolve in attack and hampered the hosts. After a poor first half, Maccabi Tel Aviv scored the winner in the 62nd minute when Liran Cohen sent a searing shot into the visitor's net, giving coach Eli Cohen his first win of the season. Maccabi Haifa's and Hapoel Tel Aviv's Matchday 4 fixtures - against Bnei Yehuda and Maccabi Herzliya, respectively - were postponed to October 24 in light of the teams' UEFA Cup matches on Thursday night. Also, no Premier League matches will be held on Sunday or Monday because of Yom Kippur.

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