maccabi netanya 88.
(photo credit: )
Eli Guttman's Maccabi Netanya thrashed Betar Jerusalem 3-1 with a trademark attacking performance at "The Box" Saturday night.
Betar and Maccabi Petah Tikva, which defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv 2-1, are tied at the top of the Premier League standings with 10 points, but Petah Tikva takes over first with a superior goal-difference. The "Luzons" have conceded only two goals this season.
"This team deserved to win today," Netanya coach Guttman said after the win. "I didn't doubt the outcome even after the temporary equalizer, as we controlled all the parameters of the game.
"I don't think this win makes us contenders for the championship and all we want to do is to concentrate on improving our level of play."
Eli Ohana's Hapoel Kfar Saba suffered a shock 0-3 humiliation at Ashdod SC, while Maccabi Herzliya secured its first win of the season.
Bnei Yehuda eased over Hapoel Petah Tikva 3-1, with Lior Asulin registering his first goal for the oranges.
Matchday 5 will conclude on Sunday night when Yitzhak Schum's Hapoel Tel Aviv hosts defending champion Maccabi Haifa at Bloomfield Stadium.
Haifa captain Yaniv Katan has recovered from his abdominal injury which was sustained about a month ago and is expected to be in Roni Levy's starting 11, after the team's medical staff cleared him for training last week.
Maccabi Netanya 3,Betar Jerusalem 1
Netanya left the yellow-and-black behind in the third minute, when Itai Shechter found himself unmarked in the box and headed in a Zeno Marius Bundea free kick from the left flank.
Betar evened the score three minutes before halftime. Fabrice Fernandes performed a brilliant solo dribble in midfield and crossed the ball into the box. The Netanya defense failed to clear and Gal Alberman provided a crisp drive which landed in the back of the net.
However, the hosts turned up the pressure again in the second half and goals by Isaac "Okocha" Abodo (52) and Dedi Ben-Dayan (64) sent the fans celebrating the team's convincing win.
Maccabi Petah Tikva 2, Maccabi Tel Aviv 1
Maccabi Petah Tikva entered the match with the best defensive record in the league, with just one goal conceded in the first four games of the season. But the hosts also employed an effective attacking system, which paid dividends in the 17th minute.
Naor Peser, a key player on Guy Levy's national under-21 team which qualified for the 2007 European championships, used his pace and broke Tel Aviv's offside trap. The 19-year-old winger cut through the visitors' rearguard and provided a slick finish to give his team the lead.
The hosts kept pushing ahead and doubled their lead in the second half when substitute Dobev Gabai utilized another blunder by the Tel Aviv defense to score from point-blank range and make it 2-0 in the 75th minute.
Veteran Avi Nimni, who came on as a substitute, scored the consolation goal for the yellow-and-blue in the 90th minute.
Bnei Yehuda 3,Hapoel Petah Tikva 1
Hapoel Petah Tikva opened with an attacking formation and took the lead in the 11th minute. Bnei Yehuda's Imoro Lukman diverted an Ahmed Kasum shot into his own net.
The hosts turned the tide with two quick goals before the halftime whistle. Playmaker Reuven Oved evened the score in the 19th minute, and 15 minutes later, Lior Asulin put Bnei Yehuda ahead with a brilliant strike from the edge of the box.
Assi Baldut added to Petah Tikva's misery by scoring the third in the 55th minute.
Ashdod SC 3,Hapoel Kfar Saba 0
Idan Shriki did the damage in the first half, with a close-range finish in the ninth minute and another strike in the 35th minute, giving his side a convincing 2-0 lead at the break.
All hopes of a Kfar Saba comeback were crushed in the first minute of the second half when Idan Malihi's long-range strike was mishandled by Oshri Levi and knocked in by new signing Yaniv Azran.
Hakoach Amidar R-G 1, Maccabi Herzliya 2
After a poor first half by both teams, Reuven Atar's new acquisition Ibon Arrieta struck twice within the span of 17 minutes (56, 73).
Ramat Gan retaliated in the 80th minute when Avi Tikva scored off an inspirational assist by Yossi Rozen.
Uri Malmilian's squad was unable to find the equalizer in the final minutes, and Herzilya had its first victory of the season.