Hapoel Haifa players celebrate victory over Maccabi 370.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
The crisis at Maccabi Haifa continued to deepen on Saturday, with the Greens
dropping to a humbling 1-0 Premier League loss to Hapoel Ra’anana in
Last week’s 1-0 derby defeat to Hapoel Haifa mounted the
pressure on coach Arik Benado and his squad, and the players failed to respond
on Saturday, being outplayed by the modest Ra’anana.
Reuven Atar early last season, with the latter being sacked after picking up
just seven points from the first nine league matches. Following Saturday’s
setback, Haifa remains in 10th place with a mere eight points from eight games,
having won two encounters all season.
The Greens have picked up all three
points only once in their past 11 matches in all competitions and Benado looked
almost shell-shocked following another unexpected loss, this time to Ra’anana,
which won thanks to Tamir Cohen’s 59th-minute goal.
“We are experiencing
a bad period,” said Benado after seeing his team register just one shot on
target throughout the 90 minutes. “I have no complaints to the players because
they did their best. We are simply not creative enough at the moment and are not
playing well enough. I feel bad for the fans. We are in a bad situation but we
will continue to work hard.”
Benado rejected any suggestion that he might
choose to throw in the white towel and resign.
“I feel that I have the
capabilities to get the team out of this situation,” said Benado. “If I will be
told that I’m not the man for this job then so be it. But I will do everything
to help the team out of this state.”
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The win was especially pleasing for
Ra’anana’s Cohen, who joined the Sharon side after two dismal years at Haifa,
playing only 14 matches for the club in 2011/12 before making a mere three
appearances last season, including only one in the final eight months of the
Beitar Jerusalem made it three wins in four matches, extending
its unbeaten streak to five games, with Saturday’s 2-1 triumph over Bnei Yehuda
at Teddy Stadium.
A Teteh Bangura brace (49, 64) canceled out Adam
Hrepka’s opener (32), with the Hungarian being sent off in the 74th
Hapoel Haifa also continued its hot form on Saturday, climbing up
to second place with its 2-0 win over Ironi Kiryat Shmona at Kiryat Eliezer
Yuval Avidor’s double (53, 59) secured Haifa its third
Hapoel Ramat Hasharon picked up its first point of
the season on Saturday, drawing 1-1 against Bnei Sakhnin at Doha
Asael Ben-Shabat gave Ramat Hasharon the lead (10), with Mohamed
Kalibat scoring for Sakhnin (76).
Also Saturday, Pedro Galvan’s goal four
minutes from time gave Maccabi Petah Tikva a 1-1 draw against nine-man Ashdod SC,
which led from Roei Bekel’s strike (77).
Hapoel Tel Aviv hosts Hapoel
Acre on Sunday, with league-leader Maccabi Tel Aviv visiting Hapoel Beersheba on
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