(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Ironi Kiryat Shmona handed Maccabi Tel Aviv its second Premier League defeat of
the season on Sunday night, beating the yellow-and-blue 2-1 and denying it a
return to the top of the standings.
Tel Aviv was well positioned to
leapfrog Hapoel Tel Aviv into first place after taking a 1- 0 lead into the
break thanks to Roberto Colautti’s 21st minute opener.
Shmona outplayed Maccabi in the second half and deserved nothing less than all
three points, with substitutes Shlomi Azulai (57) and Ahmed Abed (78) securing a
memorable comeback for the hosts.
“We were in complete control in the
first half, but unfortunately that’s where it stopped,” said Maccabi coach Moti
Ivanir, whose team remains in second place, one point behind the
“We played poorly and they took a gamble that paid
off. Anyone who thought that we would put on a show week-in, week-out is
mistaken. We would like that to be the case, but we are rebuilding the team and
we will have a lot of highs and lows this season.”
Maccabi took the lead
with its first real chance of the match.
With Eliran Atar suspended and
Barak Itzhaki missing the match through injury, Colautti was given a starting
role and once more came up with the goods.
Dor Micha’s excellent cross
from the left was not squandered by Colautti, who headed in his fourth league
goal in six appearances.
The hosts had their chances to equalize before
the break, with Shimon Abu Hazeira clipping the crossbar with his attempt in the
25th minute and Elad Gabai being denied by the woodwork 12 minutes
Abu Hazeira only had keeper Guy Haimov to beat six minutes into
the second half, but he couldn’t even find the target with his
However, Abu Hazeira made up for his poor finishing in the 57th
minute, sending through Azulai, who coolly slotted in the
Kiryat Shmona would go on to dominate the remainder of the
second half and scored a deserved winner in the 78th minute. Abu Hazeira wasted
yet another golden opportunity two minutes earlier, but in the 78th he
unselfishly squared the ball for Abed to slot in the winner.