(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Late goals by Lior Rafaelov and Yaniv Katan gave Maccabi Haifa a 3-1 victory
over Hapoel Acre on Monday in a night of mixed emotions at Kiryat Eliezer
While Haifa fans were delighted with their team’s first home win
in five matches, the tragic Carmel fire meant that regardless of the result,
Monday’s encounter was a somber occasion.
Only 6,000 fans, about half the
amount that usually attends Haifa matches, came to watch the Greens, and they
were extremely disappointed when their team created little to nothing in the
first half, which ended at 0-0.
Four minutes into the second half matters
would get worse for the hosts, with Oshri Gita beating ’keeper Nir Davidovich to
Maharan Radi’s corner to head Acre into the lead.
However, Haifa would
tie the score in the 63rd minute, with Mohammad Ghadir equalizing seconds after
coming on as a substitute, tucking the ball into an empty net following Tomer
Hemed’s excellent build up play.
Two minutes from time, Rafaelov clinched
Goalkeeper Dudu Goresh saved Hemed’s volley, but Rafaelov was
on hand to slot Haifa into the lead, and Katan wrapped up the scoring in injury
time with an accurate penalty kick, sending the Greens back to first
Ironi Kiryat Shmona, which entered the day in first place,
could only manage a 1-1 draw at Hapoel Beersheba Monday.