Hooray! Betar finally notches a victory

Jerusalem rallies to beat R. Gan; K8 still in first after toppling Mac TA; Hapoel coasts.

November 21, 2010 04:48
3 minute read.
IRONI KIRYAT SHMONA players celebrate

ironi kiryat shmona 311. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)


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Maccabi Tel Aviv fans called for manager Avi Nimni’s resignation after the yellow-and-blue fell to its second straight Premier League defeat on Saturday, while Betar Jerusalem recorded its first victory in almost two months to relieve some of the pressure on coach Uri Malmilian.

With all its victories so far coming against the league’s bottom six teams, Maccabi entered Saturday’s match hoping to prove it could compete with a top side, albeit one which was only promoted from the National League last season.

However, Nimni’s men struggled once more, falling 1-0 to Ironi Kiryat Shmona, with Barak Badash scoring the winner in the 24th minute.

Badash made the most of an awful mistake by a complacent Liran Staruber, stealing the ball from the goalkeeper to score the only goal of the match for Kiryat Shmona, which held on for the win thanks to an inspired performance by ‘keeper Danny Amos.

“This win shows we belong with the top teams,” said Kiryat Shmona coach Ran Ben-Shimon, whose team ensured itself at least another week in first position.

Meanwhile, Betar came back from two goals down to defeat rock-bottom Hapoel Ramat Gan 3-2 at Teddy Stadium, while Hapoel Tel Aviv claimed its sixth win in seven matches, beating Bnei Sakhnin 3-1 at Doha Stadium.

Hapoel was lackluster in the first half, but in the 65th minute it got an ideal opportunity to take the lead when Toto Tamuz was brought down in the box by Tal Hen.

However, goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama sent the spot kick wide, and less than two minutes later the Tel Aviv defense was caught napping, allowing Cristian Danalache to race through on goal and slot in the opener past Hapoel’s Nigerian goalie.

After recording its first win of the season on Monday, Sakhnin fans were now dreaming of seeing their team claim the scalp of the reigning-champion, but the visitors would turn the match on its head with three goals in nine minutes.

In the 74th minute, Tamuz equalized from a Victor Merey pass, and just three minutes later Eran Zehavi’s super effort from the edge of the area gave Hapoel the lead.

Tamuz secured the three points with his second goal of the night and sixth of the season in the 86th minute, ensuring Tel Aviv will enter Wednesday’s Champions League encounter against Benfica with its title defense back on track.

“We played well throughout the game, but missed too many opportunities,” Hapoel coach Eli Gutman said. “It is important to enter the Benfica game on the back of a victory and we are hoping to win that match as well.”

At Teddy, Betar showed plenty of enthusiasm at the start of the match, but created very few chances, and squandered them when they finally arrived.

Jerusalem seemed to be in control, but the visitors would be the ones to take the lead in the 26th minute thanks to a superb free kick by Dimitar Telkiyski.

Teddy went completely silent once more 12 minutes later when Liron Diamant stunned the hosts, taking advantage of Betar’s slow defense to give Ramat Gan a promising two-goal lead.

However, Betar had some hope at halftime after Hen Azriel cut the deficit to one goal in the 41st minute, scoring Jerusalem’s first goal after a four-game drought.

The hosts would complete their comeback within the first four minutes of the second half.

Azriel tied the score after a great solo effort in the 47th minute and two minutes later Bruchian gave the hosts a lead they would not relinquish with an exquisite effort from the edge of the area.

Also Saturday, Hapoel Petah Tikva put some distance between itself and the relegation zone, defeating Ashdod SC 2-1 on the road.

Dudu Biton gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot in the 49th minute and Petah Tikva went two goals up through Alon Turgeman three minutes later, with Emmanuel Sarki ensuring a tense finish with a 58th minute strike.

Maccabi Petah Tikva ended Hapoel Acre’s four-match winning streak on Saturday with a 1-1 draw at Winter Stadium, with Omer Damari giving the hosts the lead (34), only for Arafat Djako to equalize in the 66th minute. Maccabi Netanya and Bnei Yehuda played out a 0-0 draw.

Hapoel Beersheba hosts Hapoel Ashkelon on Sunday, with Maccabi Haifa playing Hapoel Haifa at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium on Monday.

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