Local Soccer: Hapoel Tel Aviv defeats Betar 2-0 at Teddy

Champions embarrassed by two late Samuel Yeboah goals to continue dismal start.

By JEREMY LAST
November 4, 2008 07:09
2 minute read.
Local Soccer: Hapoel Tel Aviv defeats Betar 2-0 at Teddy

betar jerusalem 248.88. (photo credit: Roi Levy)

 
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If Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Ran Ben-Shimon deserved to be sacked on Sunday, then it is doubtful Betar Jerusalem's Reuven Atar will last much longer. Brought in to replace double-winning coach Itzhak Schum a few months ago, Atar has turned the team that had become the most feared in the country into a weak shadow of its former self. The former Maccabi Netanya coach himself had noted the importance of Monday night's Israeli Premier League game at home against Hapoel Tel Aviv. But, once again, Betar couldn't take control last night, lost 2-0, and is still without a win Teddy Stadium this season. Although both teams had opportunities, it was tight for most of the game until the last five minutes when Samuel Yeboah scored twice to give Tel Aviv an unassailable lead. After grabbing two goals at Ashdod SC last week, Barak Itzhaki was the main culprit for the home team, missing numerous opportunities to put the yellow and black in the driver's seat. Itzhaki represented all that has gone wrong for Betar on Monday, having left on the crest of a wave in January to play at Genk in Belgium, only to return in the summer with his tail between his legs, lacking the incisive touch and attitude that made him the best striker in the country. Tel Aviv wasn't much better than its opponent for the majority of the game, but the late goals spoke volumes for the tenacity and effort put in by the visitors. The game began under the cloud of confusion over the future of Betar Jerusalem owner Arkadi Gaydamak, whose assets were frozen by a Tel Aviv court on Monday afternoon. The first chance fell to Itzhaki who headed wide of Vincent Enyeama's goal from a Dario Fernandez free kick in the sixth minute. A minute later Michael Zandberg had another header saved by Enyeama and the home team was piling on the pressure. But Tel Aviv was not to be outdone in the cauldron-like atmosphere and Gili Vermut soon forced a diving save from Tvrtko Kale, back from injury in the Betar goal. Jerusalem should have gone ahead the 12th minute when Itzhaki was put through but his shot thundered against the cross bar. Itzhaki had another great chance on the half-hour mark when Zandberg wriggled through the Hapoel defense and saw his shot saved only for the Betrar striker to shoot way wide of the target from only a few meters out. It seemed like it just wasn't going to be Itzhaki's night. The former KRC Genk striker hit the cross bar again five minutes into the second half when he turned deftly in the box and struck a firing shot. Next it was Shai Abutbul who shot against the Jerusalem post at the other end, this time from a long range free kick. Could it get worse for Itzhaki? Perhaps so. On 57 minutes he had another simple chance to put the home side ahead when Zandberg crossed from the left right on to his head, but Itzhaki's header was weak and hardly troubled Enyeama. And so the game went on. Yeboah finally made the breakthrough in the 86th minute, knocking in a pass from Omri Canada to the delight of the visiting supporters. Then, the Ghanaian striker doubled Tel Aviv's lead when he headed in a Ben Luz cross and put the game out of reach.

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