Betar Jerusalem was outplayed Sunday night by a strong Hapoel Tel Aviv side, losing 2-0 at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem. Betar was second best throughout the 90 minutes and never posed any real danger to the Hapoel defense.
Jerusalem came into the game searching for a third straight win, but couldn't handle Tel Aviv coach Dror Kashtan's tactical array. The win meant that Hapoel leapfrogged Betar in the standings, putting the reds forth with ten points and within reach of second placed Maccabi Tel Aviv. Betar remains on nine points and drops to fifth.
After a scrappy start to the game in which both teams lacked any attacking imagination, Betar defender Tomer Haliba almost gifted Hapoel the opener 24 minutes into the game. Haliba was unable to deal with a simple cross and handled the ball in the area. Tel Aviv sweeper Shimon Gershon stepped up and hit a poor penalty shot that was saved by Betar 'keeper Itzik Kornfein.
The Hapoel players didn't let their heads drop and six minutes later got their reward. A corner kick by midfielder Elyaniv Barda was headed by defender Assi Domb into the goal beyond a helpless Kornfein.
Four minutes after halftime, Barda's devastating run won Hapoel the match. The reds' midfielder picked up the ball on the half way line and ran clear of the Betar defense, finally squaring the ball to striker Ibizito Ogabona, who tapped the ball in to put Hapoel two up.
Jerusalem "coach" Guy Azuri tried to revive his team with substitutions but to no avail. Betar was unable to cut into Hapoel's lead and was lucky to lose by only two goals.
Earlier in the day, the Israel Football Association told Betar that interim coach Guy Azuri's coaching credentials were not acceptable and Betar had to register a certified coach before Sunday's match.
Betar came up with the creative idea of registering youth department manager Nisim Bachar as the head coach and Azuri as his assistant so that Azuri could sit on the sideline and guide his team.
On Monday, Hapoel Kfar Saba visits Maccabi Petah Tikva to complete Matchday 6.