Israel Croatia 224.88.
(photo credit: AP)
Betar Jerusalem barely moved out of second gear at Bloomfield on Sunday night but still managed to easily defeat 10-man Bnei Yehuda 3-0 in the final game of match day 12 of the Israeli Premier League and stay top of the standings.
A penalty from Idan Tal in the last minute of the first half and two Gal Alberman goals towards the end of the second wrapped up another win for the league champion, which has yet to be beaten in the Premier League this season.
Both teams were preparing for their Toto Cup semifinals on Wednesday. While Betar will have high hopes of reaching the final when it plays Maccabi Haifa, on this performance Bnei Yehuda is unlikely to beat its opponent Bnei Sakhnin.
The Oranges are still without a permanent coach after Nitzan Shirazi quit last week and played for much of the match like a team without a leader.
But, although it lacked that crucial final touch for most of the game, Bnei Yehuda did in fact have two close calls which could have easily gone its way.
The first came in the 13th minute while the score was still 0-0. Eli Biton crossed the ball from the right hand side and striker Moshe Biton struck a fierce shot from inside the six yard box which hit the cross bar and bounced on to the line. But television replays proved the referee was correct not to give a goal as the ball had not crossed the goal line.
Before the second incident Betar had already gone 1-0 up, and Bnei Yehuda had gone down to 10 men, after Asi Baldut brought down Amit Ben-Shushan in the area. The referee sent Baldut off, pointed to the spot and Tal slotted home with his left foot.
It stayed 1-0 for much of the second half and perhaps should have been 1-1 with 20 minutes to go. A defensive mix up in the Betar penalty area allowed Imoro Lokman to knock the ball into the net with a deflection off Betar's Derek Boateng but the referee called a controversial offside after discussions with his assistants.
Two minutes after the Bnei Yehuda offside Alberman made it 2-0 to the visiting Betar team. Michael Zandberg sent in a cross which was a little too long, Arik Benado performed acrobatics to volley the ball which Aiyenugba saved but could not hold and Alberman fired in.
By that time the game seemed wrapped up, but Alberman put the icing on the cake when he headed in from a Milovan Mirosevic cross on 80 minutes.
Moshe Biton hit the post with a volley in the closing minutes but it was not to be his day.