Hap TA leapfrogs Maccabi into first place

Reds blank Beersheba while Ramat Hasharon upsets yellow-and-blue; Sakhnin dumps Haifa.

By
September 22, 2011 13:58
4 minute read.
Ramat Hasharon vs Maccabi

Ramat Hasharon vs Maccabi 311. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)

 
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Hapoel Tel Aviv overtook Maccabi Tel Aviv for first place in the Premier League standings on Wednesday night as the yellow-and-blue suffered a shock 3-1 defeat at Hapoel Ramat Hasharon, while Maccabi Haifa dropped to yet another loss.

Hapoel left it until late before defeating Hapoel Beersheba 2-0 at Bloomfield Stadium, but the Reds were delighted to pick up all three points, especially after hearing that their arch-rival lost its 100 percent record, falling to a surprise defeat at Ramat Hasharon.

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“We dominated the possession, but Ramat Hasharon knows it is an inferior team compared to us and they only tried to disrupt our play tonight,” Maccabi coach Moti Ivanir said.

“We should have played much better and won by three of four goals, but we couldn’t do that. However, there is no need to get worked up about this loss. We need to remain calm and already focus on our next match.”

Haifa would love to be in Maccabi’s situation after it lost 2-0 at Bnei Sakhnin on Wednesday. Maharan Radi scored his fifth and sixth goals of the season (44, 70) and gave the hosts a deserved victory over the reigning champion.

“There is no excuse for our performance tonight,” Haifa coach Elisha Levy said. “I’m far more worried with our performance and not the result.”

Maccabi Tel Aviv got off to the worst possible start at the Winter Stadium.



Defender Nivaldo fell to the ground injured near the byline and Ramat Hasharon took full advantage, with Tomer Swisa netting the opener with the match just two minutes old.

The yellow-and-blue dominated the possession throughout almost all the encounter, but Ramat Hasharon wouldn’t squander its few chances and took a 2-0 lead in the 29th minute.

Gal Lifka picked up the ball well inside his own half and surged down the right flank before picking out Baruch Dego on the edge of the box, who put all his heart in his stunning shot that gave ’keeper Guy Haimov no chance.

Maccabi found no way past Ramat Hasharon’s defensive formation and the yellow-and-blue was in real trouble in the 63rd minute when Nivaldo was harshly sent off for blocking Oscar Guerero.

Substitute Moussa Konate got one goal back for Tel Aviv in the 77th minute, but Moshe Abutbul clinched the biggest win in Ramat Hasharon’s history in stoppage time.

At Bloomfield, Hapoel struggled to break down Beersheba’s defense and the visitors very nearly scored on the break, with Yosef Abu-Laban squandering a golden opportunity in the 82nd minute.

Beersheba would of course live to rue its miss and the Reds showed their character once more, with Bevan Fransman heading the hosts into the lead in the 85th minute from a Shay Abutbul cross and Salim Toama securing all three points with a left-footed free kick in the 90th minute.

“It is very difficult to play against a team that defends with nine players,” Hapoel coach Dror Kashtan said. “We played with a lot of patience and controlled most of the match. But they defended well and closed us down.

However, our patience eventually paid off and we secured the win.”

Beersheba coach Nir Klinger was bitterly disappointed after the painful defeat.

“This is a stupid loss,” he said. “We did everything right and even could have scored a goal. But we couldn’t capitalize on our chances and paid the price at the other end.

“Clearly our results are poor and we aren’t playing great, but I believe in this team and I have never given up in my life.”

This will be of little consolation for Klinger and Beersheba, but Hapoel Haifa is also still searching for its first point of the season after dropping to a 4-2 defeat to Hapoel Acre on Wednesday.

Nicolas Falczuk (16) and Sintiyahu Salalik (22) gave Acre what should have been a comfortable lead at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium, but an Eran Levy penalty in the 33rd minute in his first match back after falling out with coach Nitzan Shirazi and Edi Gottlieb’s own goal four minutes into the second half gave Haifa fans hope of seeing their team pick up a point.

However, Falczuk would go on to complete his hat-trick with two more goals in the 63rd and 80th minutes, giving Acre its third win of the season and piling even more pressure on Haifa, which visits Hapoel Tel Aviv on Saturday.

Betar Jerusalem took a 53rd minute lead at Maccabi Netanya following a nice finish by Amit Ben-Shushan, but Ahmed Saba equalized for the hosts eight minutes later and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Maccabi Petah Tikva also finds itself not far from the top of the standings after coming back from a goal down to beat Ashdod SC 3-1 on the road thanks to three goals in the final eight minutes of the match.

Nir Biton gave the hosts the lead in the 60th minute, only for Nitzan Damari (82), Tal Ma’abi (87) and Tal Ben-Haim (90) to complete a dramatic comeback for Petah Tikva.

Also Wednesday, Bnei Yehuda won 1-0 at Hapoel Petah Tikva courtesy of Israel Zaguri’s 24th minute winner, while Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Hapoel Rishon Lezion drew 1-1, with Justin Zulu (55) scoring for the hosts and Shimon Abu Hazeira (59) equalizing for Kiryat Shmona.


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