Ahmed Abed (R), Paty Yeye_311.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Ironi Kiryat Shmona extended its unbeaten run to 17 matches on Monday night,
drawing 0-0 at Ashdod SC to maintain a six-point gap at the top of the Premier
The northerners controlled the showdown in which
scoring chances were at a premium, although the best opportunity of the match
fell to Ashdod’s Idan Shriki, who was denied by an excellent instinctive save
from goalkeeper Danny Amos in the 55th minute.
Amos took his clean-sheet
streak to five matches on Monday, with the stingy northerners conceding just two
goals over their past 11 encounters.
“It is very difficult to play in
Ashdod and I feel we have taken another significant step forward with this
result,” said Kiryat Shmona coach Ran Ben- Shimon, who was missing suspended
Shimon Abu-Hazeira and the injured William Njovu and Barak
“Nevertheless, I think we are a far further from claiming the
championship than people think. We can do it, but we are only at the halfway
mark and there are still many more matches to play.”
Ashdod at least
snapped Kiryat Shmona’s seven-match winning streak, but it squandered a golden
opportunity to close the gap on Ben- Shimon’s men, moving back into second place
above Hapoel Tel Aviv with the single point.
“It is very difficult to
play against Kiryat Shmona,” said Ashdod coach Yossi Mizrahi, whose team
extended its unbeaten streak to 13 games. “We didn’t show up in the first half
and didn’t play according to our game plan. We turned over the ball a lot, but
if we managed not to lose in a match like this than we are doing
okay. “There will be many ups and downs in the remainder of the season
and the most consistent team will be the one to prevail.”
midfielder Ravid Gazal was satisfied with the result. “I’m never happy
with a draw, but this was a fair result,” he said. “We believe we can win the
title, but no team takes the championship in January.”
In other soccer
news, Betar Jerusalem’s situation took another turn for the worst on Monday
after captain Aviram Bruchian joined Poland’s Polonia Warsaw.
26-year-old midfielder led his team out onto the field for the last time on
Sunday when it suffered a humbling 3-0 defeat at Hapoel Haifa, dropping into the
relegation zone for the first time this season.
Since beginning the
season with three wins in four games, Betar has claimed just one victory in 15
Bruchian started in 17 of the team’s 19 matches, but Betar will
now have to manage without him, agreeing to release the player, who would have
been out of contract at the end of the season, for around 150,000 euros in
Jerusalem is hoping to use that money and the funds freed
up from Bruchian’s lucrative contract to strengthen its squad ahead of what
promises to be a very difficult second half to the season.
happy. I have realized a childhood dream,” Bruchian said. “I would like to thank
Betar and its wonderful crowd. I wish Betar good luck and want to see it remain
in the league more than anyone else.”
Bruchian becomes the fifth Israeli
in the Polish league, which will only return from its winter break in mid-
February, joining Maor Melikson and Dudu Biton, who both play at Wisla Krakow
and Liran Cohen (Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biala) and Moshe Ohayon (Legia Warsaw),
whom Betar is targeting as a replacement for its departed captain.