Mac Haifa, Hap TA lose; Mac TA back on top

Maccabi Haifa’s Premier League title defense suffered yet another unexpected blow with a humbling 3-0 home defeat to Ironi Kiryat Shmona.

October 23, 2011 23:56
2 minute read.
Maccabi Haifa coach Elisha Levy

Maccabi Haifa coach Elisha Levy 311. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)


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Maccabi Haifa’s Premier League title defense suffered yet another unexpected blow with a humbling 3-0 home defeat to Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Sunday night.

Meanwhile, Maccabi Tel Aviv climbed back to the top of the Premier League standings at the expense of Hapoel Tel Aviv, beating Maccabi Petah Tikva 1-0 at Bloomfield Stadium, while the Reds lost 2-0 at Ashdod SC.

After outplaying Steaua Bucharest 5-0 in the Europa League on Thursday, Haifa was completely apathetic at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium on Sunday night, allowing Kiryat Shmona to walk all over it on the way to an unforgettable victory.

“It would be an understatement to describe our performance as embarrassing,” said Haifa coach Elisha Levy, whose team has won just once in its past five league matches.

“I can’t remember when we last played this poorly. Just a few days ago we did everything right against Steaua and today we did the exact opposite. I can only apologize for this performance, but sometimes things like this happen in soccer.”

With just 12 points from nine matches, Haifa now trails first-placed Maccabi Tel Aviv by seven points following the yellow-and-blue’s 1-0 win over Maccabi Petah Tikva.

Tel Aviv had taken all three points only once in its previous four encounters, losing 2-1 to Kiryat Shmona last week.

It was also far from impressive at Bloomfield on Sunday, but Roberto Colautti’s 47th minute goal ensured the hosts clinched a hard-fought win that takes them back to first position with 19 points, two points clear of Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Netanya.

Hapoel Tel Aviv began the day in first place, but was extremely poor at Ashdod SC and fully deserved to lose 2-0.

Paty Yeye scored the opener with his head in the 76th minute after being left all alone in the Hapoel box and Moshe Ben-Lulu made the most of not being spotted in an offside position three minutes later to clinch the win.

“Ashdod was better than us throughout the match and it deserved to win,” said Hapoel coach Dror Kashtan, whose team has triumphed just once in its last four league games.

“We simply played a very poor match.”

At Kiryat Eliezer, Kiryat Shmona took the lead in the 21st minute when Shimon Abu Hazeira slotted beyond Bojan Saranov after an excellent through ball by Barak Badash.

Haifa looked nothing like the team that just three days earlier thrashed Steaua Bucharest and gifted the visitors their second goal with some comical defending.

The ball first bounced off defender Orel Dgani’s shoulder before Jurica Buljat completely fluffed his clearance, sending the ball straight at Shlomi Azulai, who scored an easy goal against the club he will return to at the end of the season when his loan deal from Haifa to Kiryat Shmona ends.

Haifa was fortunate not to find itself three goals down at the start of the second half, when Saranov saved Badash’s penalty attempt in the 48th minute after the goalkeeper brought down Abu Hazeira.

However, Haifa’s embarrassing defending continued in the 61st minute when Bryan Gerzicic headed in Kiryat Shmona’s third, before both Eyal Golasa (65) and Hen Azriel (73) deserted their team with reckless tackles that left referee Daniel Bar-Natan with no option but to send them off.

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