ironi kiryat shmona 311.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
Also Saturday, Hapoel Petah Tikva put some distance between
itself and the relegation zone, defeating Ashdod SC 2-1 on the road.
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.
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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