Kfar Saba revives relegation battle

The last-placed side impressed in a 3-1 win over Motti Iwanir's Upper Nazareth on Saturday, turning the relegation battle into a close and unpredictable affair.

By SHARON SOLOMON
March 26, 2006 08:54
3 minute read.

 
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Eli Ohana is working wonders with Hapoel Kfar Saba and proving all the pundits wrong on a weekly basis. The former Betar Jerusalem coach guided last placed Kfar Saba to another impressive 3-1 win over Motti Iwanir's Upper Nazareth on Saturday, turning the relegation battle into a close and unpredictable affair. "A disappointing game, but we did our job in impressive fashion," a thrilled Ohana told reporters after the game. "We are now only five points away from Nazareth. If we win four of the remaining seven games, we can complete our mission." In other games, front-running Maccabi Haifa ended its two-game losing streak in style with a sound thrashing of Bnei Yehuda at Kiryat Eliezer, while coach Ton Caanen's Maccabi Tel Aviv provided another lackluster performance against Bnei Sakhnin at Doha Stadium, marking Maccabi's fifth straight game without a win. The last game in Matchday 26 sees Dror Kashtan's Hapoel Tel Aviv host Luis Fernandez's Betar Jerusalem, in what promises to be a close and emotional fixture with second place hanging in the balance. Lior Asulin, Jerome Leroy and David Aganzo are not fully match-fit, but are expected to start for the yellow-and-black. In Kfar Saba, the hosts were the better team in the opening minutes and took full advantage of Nazareth's defensive strategy. Playmaker Ben Luz danced through the Nazareth defense and passed the ball to Samuel Yeboah, who fired in from a tight angle to put the hosts ahead in the 10th minute. But the visitors found the equalizer six minutes later, when Eliran Elkayam headed in from five meters after an Oren Zeituni free kick. The second half was totally one sided and Kfar Saba overwhelmed the visitors with some blistering attacks. Emanuel Papu (54) and Yeboah (76) provided the goals and gave Ohana's side the important win. Next week Ohana and co. visit the coach's former club, Betar Jerusalem, at Teddy Stadium. Maccabi Haifa 4, Bnei Yehuda 0 Bnei Yehuda started the on the attack, as Reuven Oved worked his magic with some brilliant solo dribbles, but Maccabi Haifa had other plans. Gustavo Boccoli used his pace to get past Ronny Gafni and made a quick solo run from the midfield. The Brazilian squared the ball to Roberto Colautti, who fired in from long range to give Haifa the lead in the 15th minute. The Argentinian striker was on target again 10 minutes later when he took advantage of a mix up in the Bnei Yehuda defense to score his second goal of the game. Haifa kept coming ahead and showed no signs of stopping. The oranges committed a foul on the edge of the box and Idan Tal curled the ball into the right corner to make it 3-0 in the 37th minute. Michael Zandberg completed the whitewash in the 61st minute, after finishing off a well-constructed attack. Bnei Sakhnin 1, Maccabi Tel Aviv 1 Veteran striker Ofir Haim put the visitors ahead after a goalless first half, when Erez Mesika set him up wonderfully in the 52nd minute. Shiye Faigenbaum called upon Ahmed Kasum, who didn't disappoint and netted the equalizer in the 78th minute, thanks to a clever assist from Yaniv Abargil. Maccabi's Georgi Demetradze had a chance to seal the fate of the encounter in the 82nd minute, but the Georgian forward was unable to beat goalkeeper Meir Cohen. Maccabi Petah Tikva 2, Maccabi Netanya 1 Petah Tikva welcomed back Omer Golan from suspension and controlled the flow of the game from the start. The breakthrough came in the eighth minute when the hosts were awarded a free kick. Ismael Amar lobbed the ball into the area and Cameroon's Patrick Suffo elegantly glanced the ball into the net from close range to give Petah Tikva a 1-0 lead. Guy Luzon inserted Salim Toema in the second half and he delivered almost instantly. The quick forward made a slick move on the right touchline and crossed the ball towards Rubel Sarsour, who converted with ease to double the lead in the 62nd minute. Netanya substitute Papi Kimoto scored off an Ofer Talker cross in stoppage time, which turned out to be no more than a consolation goal. In Friday's game, Ashdod SC edged Hapoel Petah Tikva 2-1.

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