Hapoel TA 298.88.
(photo credit: AP)
Hapoel Tel Aviv was brought down to earth in agonizing fashion on Monday night, losing 2-1 to Ashdod SC in Matchday 10 of the Premier League.
Hapoel's glorious 4-2 victory against Paris Saint Germain on Thursday night took its toll on the side and the visitors were unable to overcome their European 'hangover' and defeat the ever dangerous Ashdod.
The hosts scored twice in the first 15 minutes and, despite being forced to play on their back foot for most of the second half, held on to their lead and leapfrogged Hapoel into third place in the table.
Tel Aviv drops to fifth place in the standings but still has one match in hand.
"We defeated an excellent side today and I have many reasons to celebrate," Ashdod coach Alon Hazan said after the match. "My players finally showed character against a big side and were a worthy opponent to Hapoel. I salute my players."
Tel Aviv coach Yitzhak Schum was understandably disappointed after the match, but wouldn't blame the defeat on the fatigue of his players.
"My players made every effort today and in the same way we won matches this season that we didn't deserve to, tonight we lost a match we should have won."
Ashdod looked the sharper at the start of the match and in the sixth minute the early pressure paid off. David Revivo's free kick from the corner of the area was just saved by 'keeper Shavit Elimelech, but Yaniv Azran was first to the rebound and scored into the empty net.
In the 15th minute the hosts stunned Hapoel and doubled their lead. Shai Holtzman hit a fantastic shot that came off the post, but the rebound unluckily hit Elimelech and the ball rolled into the net.
Idan Malihi's outreached hand brushed against Tomer Haliva's cross in the 59th minute and Yossi Abuksis scored from the penalty spot to set up an intriguing last third to the match. Hapoel sent all its players forward, but came up short on every attempt and left Ashdod empty handed.