yaniv katan 88.
(photo credit: )
A missed penalty, a broken nose and a man-of-the-match performance from Yaniv Katan summed up a scoreless draw between Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa in front of the empty stands of Bloomfield Stadium.
Katan was involved in nearly every piece of attacking play by the Greens and supplied Israel national team coach Dror Kashtan plenty of food for thought ahead of next month's World Cup qualifiers.
The Haifa striker gave the Hapoel defenders a torrid time with an abundance of skill and attacking verve.
The game turned ugly midway though the first half when Hapoel's Samuel Yeboah's elbow came crashing down on Haifa's Dekel Keinan's face.
Keinan was forced to take some time out to receive treatment for a broken nose and Yeboah was lucky to get away with a yellow card.
After a Haifa-dominated first half, Hapoel came into the game in the second, and with 75 minutes gone, Yeboah fed Gil Vermut who crashed a shot against Haifa keeper Nir Davidoich's left hand post from inside the penalty area.
The ball rebounded back to the Hapoel player, but before he had chance to react, his shirt was pulled by Keinan and the referee, quite rightly, blew for a penalty.
Vermut stepped up, sent Davidovich the wrong way but hit the penalty wide.
Bnei Yehuda 2, Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan 2
Hakoach substitute Barak Badash's injury-time penalty snatched the points away from Bnei Yehuda which, for the second successive week, let in a crucial goal at the death.
The game at Bloomfield Stadium got off to the best possible start when referee Moshe Buhbutt awarded a penalty with only 12 seconds on the clock after Bnei Yehuda's Tomer Hemed was brought down by Hakoach defender Yisrael Rosh inside the area.
Assi Baldout slotted home the penalty with aplomb, low to keeper Robert Badjie's left.
However, Hakoach soon got back into the game and was awarded a penalty itself after 13 minutes after some awful goalkeeping by Bnei Yehuda's Dele Aiyenugba.
A seemingly harmful long ball squirmed from his hands and his momentum carried him forward to bring down Hokoach striker Omer Rapps.
Idan Weitzman tucked away the spot kick low to his right, sending the keeper the wrong way.
Nevertheless, Hokoach didn't survive long and they were undone in the 39th minute by some brilliant play from Bnei Yehuda striker Moshe Biton.
After starting the move with a lovely layoff on the half-way line, he played a wonderful one-two with Tamir Kahlon, who chipped the ball over the defense for Biton to finish coolly through the keeper's legs for the goal.
The home side appeared to have done enough to hold on for all three points, but a lapse in concentration in the last minute of injury time cost it dearly.
Milan Martinovic inexplicably miss-hit the ball over his own head and Hakoach's Ibe Jide was tumbled over by Dean Mori for the spot kick converted by Badash.
Maccabi Netanya 3, Hapoel Petah Tikva 1
Lothar MatthÃ¤us recorded his first league win as Maccabi Netanya boss on Saturday afternoon, the fluid passing of the German World Cup winner's side proving too much for newly-promoted Hapoel Petah Tikva, who could easily have lost by a bigger margin.
Netanya's dominance was rewarded in the 32nd minute when an Almog Cohen corner was headed in by Bevan Fransman with the aid of a slight deflection.
Petah Tikva hit back immediately, albeit in controversial fashion. Junior Viza failed to kick the ball out of play when Fransman was down injured and passed to M'peti Nimba who, in turn, found Shimon Abuhatzera. The striker expertly cracked the ball high into the net from the edge of the box.
Netanya regained the lead on the stroke of half time. Another Cohen corner was punched to the edge of the penalty area by Shavit Elimelech, where Shalev Menashe scored with a controlled volley.
MatthÃ¤us's team increased its lead on the hour when Ravid Gazal, who came on for the injured Fransman, received a precise pass from Itai Shechter some 17 meters outside the area and curled a wonderful shot into the top left corner, giving the Petah Tikva keeper no chance.