Hapoel Tel Aviv 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
With its Champions League campaign out of the way, Hapoel Tel Aviv is beginning
to find its rhythm in the Premier League, thrashing Hapoel Haifa 5-0 at
Bloomfield Stadium on Saturday to go top of the standings.
start of December, the reigning champion has won four straight matches by a
combined goal difference of 15-1, scoring four goals or more in three of the
Hapoel’s main challengers for the title, Maccabi Haifa and
Maccabi Tel Aviv, have only scored four goals in a match once all season between
them, with the yellow-and-blue netting more than two goals in just a single game
Hapoel, however, is finally beginning to find the back of the
net with the pace and style it employed on its way to the championship last
season, tearing Nitzan Shirazi’s team apart on Saturday.
“This is an
outstanding start to the second round of matches,” Tel Aviv coach Eli Gutman
said. “Despite the win, there were some problems in our defensive game and we
will correct them.”
Hapoel’s stay in first place could be a short one,
with Maccabi Haifa hosting Maccabi Tel Aviv at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium on Monday,
needing a victory to return to the top.
The Reds got the early goal they
were looking for at Bloomfield on Saturday, with Ben Sahar scoring with a
clinical finish in the 14th minute after another excellent through ball by Eran
Salim Toama doubled the margin in first half stoppage time with a
splendid free kick from the edge of the box, and with a 2-0 lead at the break,
the hosts were never going to be caught.
Zahavi headed in the third goal
of the night in the 61st minute and Tel Aviv substitute goalkeeper Galil Ben-
Sha’anan, standing in for Vincent Enyeama, maintained his team’s clean sheet
with a superb game, saving a penalty from Eden Ben-Basat in the 68th
Six minutes later, Gili Vermut could have scored himself, but
decided instead pass to Sahar for his second goal of the night, and Itai
Shechter wrapped up the scoring six minutes from time, slotting the ball home
from the penalty spot.
Meanwhile, Betar Jerusalem could only manage a
disappointing 0-0 against Maccabi Netanya at Teddy Stadium on
Betar’s attacking game was once again poor, but Uri Malmilian
can at least draw some encouragement from his team’s fourth clean sheet in its
past five matches.
Ironi Kiryat Shmona’s slump continued on Saturday, as
the northerners fell to their third straight 1-0 defeat, this time at lowly Bnei
Maharan Abu Raiya scored the only goal of the night in the 26th
minute, snapping Sakhnin’s three-match losing streak while extending Kiryat
Shomona’s winless run to five games.
Hapoel Beersheba closed in on the
top six on Saturday, beating Maccabi Petah Tikva 2-1 thanks to a stoppage time
goal by William Suarez.
Asi Mashiah gave the visitors the lead after
seven minutes, but Maor Melikson equalized for Beersheba with a penalty in the
The hosts would go on to claim the win thanks to Suarez’s
long range effort, with Mashiah being sent off in the 75th minute.
SC climbed to eighth position with a 3-1 win over Hapoel Acre on Saturday and is
only three points away from fourth place.
Roei Dayan gave Acre the lead
in the third minute, but Moshe Ohayon (19) tied the score and Nevo Mizrahi (77)
and Amir Lavi (81) ensured all three points would stay in Asdod after Acre’s
Itzik Cohen was sent off in the 68th minute.
Also Saturday, Hapoel Ramat
Gan and Bnei Yehuda drew 1-1, with Pini Balili (42) giving the visitors the lead
and Carlos Chacana (47) equalizing for Ramat Gan.