Local soccer: Haifa and Betar draw blanks

The two-time reigning champion desperately needed all three points to close the gap on Haifa and blow the title race open.

By
December 23, 2008 06:17
1 minute read.
Local soccer: Haifa and Betar draw blanks

betar jerusalem 248.88. (photo credit: Roi Levy)

 
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Betar Jerusalem remains 11 points behind Maccabi Haifa after only managing a 0-0 draw at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium on Monday night. The two-time reigning champion desperately needed all three points to close the gap on Haifa and blow the title race open. Jerusalem was the more dangerous side, but failed to break down a disciplined Maccabi team and the lackluster affair finished in the goalless deadlock it deserved. A victory for Haifa would have ended any lingering hope Betar may still have of winning the championship and would have also opened a six-point margin at the top of the Premier League standings. However, Elisha Levy's team deserved no more than the one point, meaning Maccabi Netanya and Hapoel Tel Aviv remain within touching distance. Betar went in search of the opener right from the kickoff and wasn't far from breaching Amir Edri's goal. In the fourth minute, Barak Itzhaki set-up Amit Ben-Shushan, who shot straight at 'keeper Edri and six minutes later it was Itzhaki himself who created space on the edge of the box, but released a weak effort. Itzhaki continued to terrorize the Haifa defense in the early stages of the match and was denied the opener once more in the 16th minute, this time by a good instinctive save from Edri. Haifa found its footing as the match progressed, but lacked cutting edge and failed to create scoring opportunities. Maccabi's best chance of the first half came in the 31st minute when Lior Rafaelov was denied a shot on goal by an excellent intervention from Betar defender Shimon Gershon. In the second half, Haifa and Betar struggled to create chances and with time winding down both sides seemed content with a draw, and the deadlock was never going to be broken.

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