Hap, Mac TA, Betar all enjoy easy victories

Reds crush Hap PT; Yellow-and-blue subdues Bnei Yehuda; J’lem rolls over Ashkelon

December 5, 2010 05:39
3 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv win

Maccabi Tel Aviv win over Bnei Yehuda. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)

Hapoel Tel Aviv climbed to the top of the Premier League standings for the first time this season on Saturday night, thrashing Hapoel Petah Tikva 5-1 at National Stadium in Ramat Gan.

However, the reigning champion’s stay in first position may be short lived, with Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Maccabi Haifa both having a chance to leapfrog Hapoel into first place with a victory on Monday night.

Kiryat Shmona visits Hapoel Beersheba while Haifa hosts Hapoel Acre at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium in a match which was postponed from Saturday due to the Carmel fire.

Also Saturday, the resurgent Betar Jerusalem extended its winning streak to three matches, crushing struggling Hapoel Ashkelon 4-0 at Teddy Stadium, while Maccabi Tel Aviv moved within one point of first place with a 2-0 victory over Bnei Yehuda at Bloomfield Stadium.

In Ramat Gan, Hapoel was desperate for three points after last week’s s 2-0 home loss to Ashdod SC, and the visitors took the lead four minutes in.

Toto Tamuz was left unmarked in the box and had no trouble scoring the opener with a header from an Eran Zehavi corner.

Douglas da Silva doubled the advantage in the 22nd minute, taking advantage of Petah Tikva’s lax defense to head the ball beyond Snir Dori, and just four minutes later, Zehavi converted an accurate free kick from 25 meters out.

The hosts cut into the deficit in the 37th minute when a Junior Viza pass hit Tel Aviv defender Bevan Fransman and confused ’keeper Vincent Enyeama.

However, another Tamuz goal six minutes after the break and Shay Abutbul’s long distance effort in the 75th minute ensured Tel Aviv will be brimming with confidence ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League match at Lyon.

“These matches are never easy, but unlike last week we managed to score an early goal and that made all the difference,” Tel Aviv coach Eli Gutman said.

“I believe Lyon is the best team in our group, but we will be ready for the match and we will play much better than we did tonight.”

Hapoel can still climb into third position in Group B and progress to the Europa League round of 32, but it will need to win in France and for SL Benfica to fail to defeat Schalke 04 in Portugal.

At Teddy, Hen Azriel continued his sensational form for Betar, scoring his second brace in a week to lead Uri Malmilian’s men to another victory.

The young striker gave Jerusalem the lead in the 17th minute and wrapped up the scoring two minutes from time, sandwiching goals from Serge Ayeli (54) and Amit Ben-Shushan (56), which clinched the win long before the final whistle.

“This wasn’t our best match, but we took our chances and I hope we improve our play in our next encounters,” said Malmilian, whose team has now moved seven points clear of the relegation zone, while Ashkelon is just two points from the bottom two after losing its last six matches by a combined goal difference of 0-17.

Despite all its critics, Maccabi Tel Aviv remains within striking distance of the leaders after beating Bnei Yehuda for its second straight win on Saturday.

Eliran Atar scored a splendid goal from 20 meters out in the 57th minute of his first match against his former side, with Guillermo Israilevich clinching the victory for the yellow-and-blue with a cool finish seven minutes from time.

Also Saturday, an Eden Ben-Basat brace (33, 84) and a late Gal Arel (90) goal gave Hapoel Haifa a 3-1 victory at Bnei Sakhnin, with Nastja Ceh scoring the hosts’ goal in the 64th minute.

Two goals by Moshe Ohayon (57, 73) saved Ashdod SC’s blushes on Saturday, with John Gergory’s team drawing 2-2 at home with rock-bottom Hapoel Ramat Gan, which got goals from Dimitar Telkiyski (8) and Krum Bibishkov (83).

On Sunday, Maccabi Petah Tikva hosts Maccabi Netanya.

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