(photo credit: HEN EZRA scored twice last night to lead Maccabi H)
Hapoel Tel Aviv returned to the top of the Premier League standings for at least
48 hours on Saturday, while Maccabi Haifa kept pace in the title race with a
seventh win in eight matches.
Hapoel defeated Bnei Sakhnin 3-0 on the
road, with Omer Damari scoring the opener after seven minutes thanks to a
defensive blunder before a Tal Ben-Haim brace (51, 80) clinched all three points
for the visitors.
Maccabi Tel Aviv can return to first place with a draw
or better against Hapoel Beersheba on Monday.
“We were lethal when we
broke forward,” said Hapoel coach Yossi Abuksis.
“This is a very tough
and important road win.”
Two months after trailing the yellowand- blue in
first place by 14 points, Maccabi Haifa closed to within just six points of the
top on Saturday, coming from behind to beat Hapoel Acre 3-1 at Kiryat Eliezer
Maharan Abu Riya gave Acre a surprise lead in the 21st minute,
but Hen Ezra equalized in the 58th minute thanks to Weeam Amasha’s
Amasha scored himself with a nifty move in the 74th minute before
Ezra secured the victory (83).
“We didn’t play so well in the first half
but I told the players that they need to continue and be patient and that the
goals would come,” said Haifa coach Arik Benado, who extended his unbeaten run
since replacing Reuven Atar to nine matches.
After going eight matches
without a win, Maccabi Netanya made it two victories in a row on Saturday,
beating Ashdod SC 2-0.
Ali Khatib (38) and Kobi Dajani (68) scored for
Netanya, with David Revivo missing a 72nd-minute penalty for Ashdod, which lost
for the sixth time in eight matches.
Hapoel Haifa remained in last place
but picked up a precious point with a 1-1 draw at Ironi Kiryat
Stefan Denkovic’s own goal (59) gave the reigning champion the
lead, but Ran Abukarat (66) equalized for Haifa, which has lost just once in its
past six matches.
Hapoel Ramat Hasharon climbed to fifth place on
Saturday with its fourth win in five games, beating Bnei Yehuda 2-1.
Hrepka (16) gave Bnei Yehuda the lead, but Omer Nusbaum (18) leveled the score
before Efraim Aspa (84) headed in the winner.
On Sunday, Betar Jerusalem
welcomes Hapoel Ramat Gan to Teddy Stadium four days after drawing 0-0 with
Terek Grozny in a hastily-organized friendly encounter in Chechnya, Russia.