SHIMON ABU HAZEIRA scored Ironi Kiryat Shmona’s second goal .
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Ironi Kiryat Shmona edged ever closer to an historic Premier League championship
on Sunday night, remaining 17 points clear at the top of the standings after
drawing 2-2 with second-placed Hapoel Tel Aviv at Bloomfield
Around 1,500 women and children attended the showdown, which was
closed to men as a punishment for the violence displayed by Hapoel fans in the
Tel Aviv derby, and they got to enjoy superb goals in a relatively exciting
Roei Gordana gave the hosts the lead in the 31st minute
against the run of play, although he was gifted the opener by Kiryat Shmona’s
usually reliable goalkeeper Danny Amos who spilled his save into the back of the
The northerners got a deserved equalizer two minutes from the break,
with Adrian Rochet lobbing the ball for David Solari, who beat ‘keeper Apoula
Edel with a composed finish.
Kiryat Shmona took the lead four minutes
into the second half thanks to an accurate effort from the edge of the box by
Shimon Abu Hazeira, with Rochet once more providing the assist.
Tel Aviv would not allow Kiryat Shmona to open a 20-point lead, with Shay
Abutbul tying the score with a splendid free kick from 25 meters out in the 58th
Despite closing on the championship, Kiryat Shmona coach Ran
Ben-Shimon spent much of his postmatch interview answering questions regarding
his future after club owner Izzy Sheratzky launched a scathing attack on him
earlier in the day.
“I came to Ran in January and offered him to sign a
contract extension,” Sheratzky revealed in an interview with Army
“He told me that he wanted an exit clause to Maccabi Haifa and
asked for another month and a half to think about it. I went back to him in mid-
February and offered him a three-year contract with a 10 percent raise as well
as a 600,000 dollars bonus for reaching the Champions League group
“In the meantime, Avram Grant called Jacob Shahar [Maccabi Haifa
owner] and tried to convince him to take Ran. Grant then called Maccabi Tel Aviv
to inquire for Ran.
“In my last conversation with Ran on March 7 he told
me he wants a 30 percent raise so I shook his hand and told him that I will
never work with him again.” Sheratzky also accused Ben-Shimon of leaking private
meetings to the press.
“In one of our meetings I decided to test
Ben-Shimon and told him that if he doesn’t continue, [Bnei Sakhnin coach] Shlomi
Dora will replace him,” Sheratzky said. “The next day I see in the paper that
Shlomi Dora is one of the candidates to coach the team.”
refused to be dragged into a media war following the match.
spoken to any team and it is important for me to end these five years at Kiryat
Shmona the best way possible,” he said. “The things being said are not true. I
respect Izzy and I want this club to enjoy this triumph as much as
Ben-Shimon told Kiryat Shmona players that he will not
continue on Saturday night and on Sunday Sheratzky met with the squad to confirm
the news before telling them that Hapoel Petah Tikva coach Gili Landau will be
the team’s coach next season.
The 53-year-old began coaching in 1991 at
Hapoel Bat-Yam after an illustrious playing career, but apart from a few matches
in charge of Hapoel Tel Aviv at the start of the 2004/05 season, has never
guided a top team.
Despite spending the entire season at the foot of the
table after beginning the campaign with a nine-point deduction, Landau has
received plenty of praise for his work at Hapoel Petah Tikva.