Maccabi Haifa 311(R).
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Haifa won a second consecutive Premier League match for the first time
this season on Saturday, showing the heart of a champion by beating in-form
Hapoel Acre 1-0 at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium despite going down to 10 men in the
Haifa’s hopes of building on the 4-1 thrashing of Betar
Jerusalem and finally winning two straight league games seemed to be over after
Eyal Meshumar was sent off for denying Acre’s Yuval Shabtai a clear shot at
goal, leaving referee Shay Shitrit with no option but to show the Haifa defender
a red card and award the visitors a penalty.
However, Stefan Scepovic
missed the subsequent spot kick, sending his penalty against the crossbar, and
Vladimir Dvalishvili scored the winner in the 54th minute with a clinical
“Everything seems to be going tough for us this season, but we
showed our character tonight,” said Haifa coach Elisha Levy, whose team is now
just four points off the top of the standings.
“We had to play with 10
men for many minutes, but we were patient and recorded a very important
Ironi Kiryat Shmona climbed to the top of the table for at least 24
hours on Saturday, edging Betar Jerusalem 1-0 at home.
Shimon Abu Hazeira
scored the only goal of the match in the 64th minute after some good build up
play by Ravid Gazal, giving Kiryat Shmona its sixth win in seven matches and
extending its unbeaten streak to 11 games.
“We need to know how to win
matches even when we don’t play well and we did that today,” Kiryat Shmona coach
Ran Ben-Shimon said. “This was a tough victory and we have no reason to
apologize to anyone for the way we got it.”
Jerusalem lost for the fourth
time in five matches and continues to languish in 11th place.
Aviv can return to first place on Sunday with a win over Maccabi Tel Aviv in the
much-anticipated derby at Bloomfield Stadium.
Hapoel has been far from
convincing in recent weeks, but Maccabi enters the derby in a much worse
situation having won just one of its past six matches.
owner Mitch Goldhar will be in Bloomfield on Sunday, saying he cleared his
schedule to be with his struggling team.
“My investment is not short
term,” he said on Saturday. “It’s not like the stock market. I don’t appraise
the value of my investment from one week to another.
Talk to me five
years from now and ask me how I feel about my investment.
“What we have
been going through lately is difficult but it is also normal. We are all
I’m learning. Moti’s learning. And together we will get
stronger. So don’t get excited – this is the coach,” he added, ruling out any
speculation that Moti Ivanir might be sacked if Maccabi loses on
One coach who is out of a job is Nitzan Shirazi, who left Hapoel
Haifa on Saturday after it suffered a 2-0 loss at Hapoel Ramat
Amir Nusbaum (50) and Moshe Abutbul (85) scored for Ramat
Hasharon, handing Haifa its eighth defeat in 13 matches this
Ashdod SC continued its excellent start to the season on
Saturday, beating the sorry Hapoel Beersheba 2-0.
Ben Butbul (50) and Efe
Ambrose (81) scored for Ashdod, which won for the fourth time in five games and
is unbeaten in seven matches.
Maccabi Netanya and Bnei Sakhnin drew 1-1
on Saturday, with Ahmed Saba giving the visitors the lead from the penalty spot
in the 29th minute before Kostadin Hazurov equalized for Sakhnin
Also Saturday, Hapoel Rishon Lezion and Hapoel Petah Tikva drew
0-0, with Maccabi Petah Tikva to host Bnei Yehuda on Monday.