Reds hold off Bnei Yehuda in make-up

Vermut nets lone goal in triumph; Hap TA trails Mac Haifa by two points for top spot.

December 16, 2010 04:01
2 minute read.
Hapoel Tel Aviv

hapoel tel aviv 311. (photo credit: Gil Korado)

Hapoel Tel Aviv closed to within two points of leagueleader Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday night, defeating Bnei Yehuda 1-0 at Bloomfield Stadium in a repeat of the match which was called off at halftime on Sunday because of a water-logged pitch.

Gili Vermut scored Hapoel’s winner in the 29th minute of the first half, which was dominated by Tel Aviv. Bnei Yehuda was in control after the interval, but couldn’t break down the Tel Aviv defense and Eli Gutman’s men held on for the win.

“We played well in the first half and we are pleased with the result,” Gutman said. “We dropped back in the second half, but the boys continued to fight and held on to Gili’s nice goal.”

Bnei Yehuda has now won just once in its last six matches and coach Dror Kashtan was visibly disappointed with Wednesday’s result.

“We simply struggled to find the back of the net,” he said.

“We dominated the second half, but kept missing.”

Unlike Sunday’s match when the soaked pitch prevented it from developing its typical passing game, Hapoel found its rhythm almost immediately on Wednesday, seizing complete control.

The visitors registered their first chance with the match less than seven minutes old, with Vermut testing Dele Aiyenugba from the edge of the box.

Aiyenugba was also all that stood between Hapoel and the opener in the 19th minute, denying Salim Toama’s dangerous free kick.

Tel Aviv dominated the possession, but in the 26th minute Bnei Yehuda came centimeters away from taking the lead.

Asi Baldut’s cross found Ilya Yavruyan with plenty of space in the Hapoel box, but his header hit the post.

Three minutes later, Tel Aviv took the lead.

Eran Zahavi weaved into the hosts box and laid the ball off for Vermut to smash in the opener.

Douglas da Silva almost gifted Bnei Yehuda the equalizer five minutes from the break, but Yavruyan couldn’t take advantage of the poor clearance, shooting wide of Vincent Enyeama’s goal.

Kashtan’s halftime talk seemed to work wonders, with Bnei Yehuda seizing the initiative at the start of the second half.

Liroy Zhairi should have done better in the 53rd minute when he had time in the Hapoel box, but sent his shot high above Enyeama’s crossbar.

The hosts continued to dictate the pace in the subsequent minutes but only rarely threatened the Tel Aviv goal.

Moshe Biton reached the team’s best chances six minutes from time, but with only Enyeama to beat, he fired straight at the Nigerian ’keeper.

Seconds later, Bnei Yehuda’s Kestutis Ivaskevicus made a mess of a back pass and Vermut should have secured the three points, but could only shoot wide.

However, his miss was of little significance, with Tel Aviv holding on for its second straight win to cut the gap on Haifa.

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