Hapoel Tel Aviv claimed yet another ridiculously easy victory on Monday night, thrashing Hapoel Ra'anana 5-0 at Bloomfield Stadium for its seventh straight Premier League win.
Tel Aviv, which has won its last seven matches by a combined goal difference of 22-2, completely outclassed Ra'anana, scoring four goals in 21 first half minutes to effectively clinch the win by halftime. Despite picking up three more points, Hapoel still trails top-of-the-table Maccabi Haifa by nine points, albeit with a match in hand.
"We played well for large periods of the match," said Tel Aviv coach Eli Gutman, whose side visits Hapoel Ramat Gan on Saturday before playing its game in hand at Hapoel Acre next Tuesday.
"Haifa can't stop winning and they deserve credit for that. However, we need to continue to do our job."
Ra'anana was actually the more dangerous of the two sides at the start of the match, threatening Vincent Enyeama's goal on several occasions. The closest the visitors came to scoring was in the eighth minutes when Steven Cohen squared the ball to Armando Lescano after a superb move down the right flank, only for the Argentinian's shot to be smothered by Enyeama.
However, Ra'anana's encouraging start was quickly forgotten, with Tel Aviv scoring twice within two minutes to take complete control of the encounter.
In the 20th minute, Ra'anana defender Tamir For inexplicably headed the ball towards his own goal instead of clearing the danger, and Samuel Yeboah pounced to smash in the opener. Less than two minutes later Eran Zehavi and Dedi Ben-Dayan exchanged passes down the left flank before the latter shot beyond goalkeeper Shaul Smadja to double Hapoel's lead.
Ben-Dayan scored the goal of the match on 29 minutes, sending an unstoppable volley into the back of the net from the corner of the box.
Hapoel all but secured the victory four minutes before the interval, with Zehavi ending his persistent run with a goal after a left-footed shot from the edge of the box.
Itai Shechter got his 12th league goal in 13 matches to complete the scoring in the 62nd minute and Hapoel cruised effortlessly to another win.
Espanyol striker Ben Sahar to begin army service in coming days
Espanyol striker and Israel international Ben Sahar arrived in Israel on Monday and will start his IDF service in the next few days. The 20-year-old has been negotiating with IDF officials regarding the nature of his mandatory service over the past few years and according to the agreement now reached between the sides he will serve as a youth motivational speaker during his holidays in Israel.
"The Christmas holiday has just started in Spain, but I am here to serve the army," Sahar said upon his arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport. "I'm excited and I'm looking forward to beginning my service."
Sahar has made 13 league appearances for Espanyol this season and came on as an 87th minute substitute in Sunday's 2-0 victory over Almeria, the team's first win after five consecutive losses.