(photo credit: Maccabi Tel Aviv website)
Maccabi Tel Aviv climbed into third place in the local standings on Monday night, beating Ashdod SC 2-1 for its third straight victory.
After beginning the season with a 1-0 home loss to Maccabi Haifa, Tel Aviv has shown consistent improvement with every match and boosted its championship credentials with a difficult win on the road on Monday night.
“We began the match well and we were in control until we made a
mistake,” said Maccabi manager Avi Nimni, who saw his team dominate the
proceedings for most of Monday’s match.
“We deserved to take all three points. We will fight for the
championship. Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Tel Aviv will also battle for the
title, but we will give our all to prevail.”
Maccabi reached its first chance after just 30 seconds when Haris
Medunjanin blasted high from 20 meters out, and the visitors would
dictate the early play.
Tel Aviv controlled the possession, but struggled to penetrate the
Ashdod defense and created few opportunities.
After keeping the yellow-and-blue at bay for the first 20 minutes, the
hosts began to find their rhythm, but Maccabi ’keeper Liran Strauber was
virtually out of work.
Despite only rarely threatening to score, Tel Aviv would lead at the
break after being gifted the opener.
Maor Buzaglo surged into the box and Ashdod’s Nigerian defender Efe
Ambrose made the mistake of tripping up the midfielder in front of the
Medunjanin stepped up to convert the spot kick in the 34th minute for
his seventh goal in all competitions this season, ensuring the visitors
held a deserved lead at the break.
Both teams got the second half off to a slow start, but one swift move
by Tel Aviv in the 57th minute secured the win.
Klemi Saban’s perfectly weighted cross found Eliran Atar with plenty of
space in the Ashdod box and he doubled Maccabi’s lead with a cool
Tel Aviv seemed to be cruising to the win, but a double mistake by
Strauber brought the hosts back into the match.
The Maccabi ’keeper first dropped a simple cross before bundling over
Dimitar Mekriev, leaving the referee with no option but to award Ashdod a
Moshe Ohayon scored from the spot, but Maccabi would hold on for a
special victory for its coach Yossi Mizrahi, who joined the club after
spending the last two seasons in Ashdod.Bnei Sakhnin sacks coach again
Elsewhere, rock-bottom Bnei Sakhnin fired coach Haim Levy after falling
to the league cellar over the weekend.
Levy will be replaced by former Maccabi Herzliya coach Slobodan Drapic,
who also spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Maccabi Haifa.
Levy took charge in place of Yuval Naim a week before the season began
after the latter fell out with the club’s management.
However, after three losses in four matches, including Saturday’s 3-2
home defeat to Maccabi Petah Tikva, Sakhnin decided to change its coach