maccabi ta scissors 248.88 asaf kliger.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv won for a third time in four matches on Monday night, claiming a 2-0 victory over Ashdod SC at Bloomfield Stadium to close within one point of third-placed Bnei Yehuda.
Maccabi dictated the play throughout the 90 minutes, and goals from Emmanuel Mayuka (59) and Yuval Avidor (87) ensured Avi Nimni's men collected the three points they deserved, a week after losing at Maccabi Netanya.
"Our goal is to remain among the top teams in the standings and I'm glad we are doing so successfully," Nimni said.
Ashdod entered the match on the back of a three game winning streak, but once more failed against a top-four team.
Yossi Mizrahi's side has picked up just a single point in its meetings against Maccabi Haifa, Hapoel Tel Aviv, Bnei Yehuda and Maccabi Tel Aviv this season.
"Maccabi was the better side despite playing far from its best," Mizrahi said. "Tel Aviv was more determined and took advantage of its opportunities."
The hosts dominated the possession from the start, but it was Ashdod which registered the first real chance of the match.
Stephane Kingue's header in the 13th minute was kept out by an instinctive Liran Struaber save and Israel Rosh could do no better than chest the ball above the Maccabi goal from three meters out.
Tel Aviv was in control throughout the first half, but Ashdod 'keeper Dragan Stojkic had very little work to do.
Six minutes from the interval Mayuka should have given Tel Aviv the lead, but instead of tucking in the opener with his first touch, he took his time controlling the ball and the Ashdod defense cleared the danger.
The Ashdod defense continued to hold Maccabi at bay at the start of the second half, but one lapse of concentration allowed the hosts to score the opener in the 59th minute.
Substitute Yossi Shivhon squared the ball for Mayuka and the Zambian slid in to slam the ball into the back of the net.
Ashdod's blunt attack struggled to create scoring chances all night, with Idan Shriki registering the team's only real opportunity to equalize in the 69th minute, sending a thunderous volley just wide of Strauber's goal.
Tel Aviv clinched the win three minutes before time. Avidor's well-placed header gave Stojkic no chance and Maccabi strengthened its position in the top four.