Eran Levy 390.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Coachless Betar Jerusalem looked as hopeless as ever on Saturday night, failing
to score for a fourth straight match on the way to a demoralizing 2-0 defeat to
Hapoel Ramat Hasharon at Winter Stadium.
Yuval Naim resigned last week
after losing faith in his squad, but the departure of their coach seemed to make
little impression on the Betar players, who were clueless and helpless once more
on Saturday, remaining just two points above the relegation zone after suffering
a third straight league loss.
Ramat Hasharon scored the crucial opener in
the cagey match through Alain Masudi in the 68th minute before Gal Barel
clinched the three points with a stunning shot from 20 meters out in stoppage
Interim Betar coach Hanan Azulai was pleased with his team’s
discipline on Saturday, but chairman Itzik Kornfein will know a significant
improvement is required as he intensifies his search for Naim’s full-time
replacement on Sunday.
Despite going down to 10 men in the 25th minute of
Saturday’s match at Hapoel Rishon Lezion, Hapoel Tel Aviv kept alive its slender
hopes of catching Ironi Kiryat Shmona, winning 2-1 for its third straight
victory in all competitions.
Hapoel found itself in real trouble when
Shay Abutbul was sent off for a two-legged tackle after 25
However, Rishon couldn’t make its one-man advantage count, with
Walid Badier giving the visitors the lead from the penalty spot in the 53rd
minute after Nosa Igiebor was tumbled over the box.
Omer Damari secured
Hapoel’s win with a clinical left-footed finish from just inside the box 20
minutes later, with Gheorghe Ovseannicov’s consolation goal two minutes from
time only adding to Rishon’s frustration.
“We need to continue to do our
job and if we find ourselves closer to Kiryat Shmona in a few weeks time than we
can start thinking of the championship again,” said Hapoel coach Nitzan Shirazi
after his team closed to within nine points of Kiryat Shmona.
northerners can take their lead back to 12 points when they host Hapoel
Beersheba on Sunday night.
Meanwhile, Tel Aviv has got a fight on its
hands for second place in the standings, with Ashdod SC and Bnei Sakhnin
remaining within striking distance of the Reds with wins on
Ashdod is just one point below Tel Aviv after beating Hapoel
Haifa 3-2 on Saturday, with Nir Biton (9), Ofer Verta (20) and Amir Lavi (39)
scoring for the hosts, while Ali Khatib continued his impressive run of form for
Haifa with two more goals (27, 51).
Sakhnin is three points behind Ashdod
after winning for the third time in four matches on Saturday, defeating Hapoel
Acre 2-1 at Doha Stadium.
Stefan Scepovic’s penalty (61) canceled out
Khaled Khalaila’s spot kick from four minutes earlier, but Ahmed Kasoum clinched
all three points for the hosts with a nice finish in the 74th.
Tel Aviv’s dismal season continued to deteriorate on Saturday, with the
yellow-and-blue losing 1-0 to Bnei Yehuda at Bloomfield Stadium.
Ndlovu scored the only goal of the match in the 12th minute and Maccabi is now
in real danger of dropping into the bottom half of the standings and playing in
the relegation playoffs.
Also Saturday, Hapoel Petah Tikva kept alive its
lingering hopes of survival with a 3-1 win over Maccabi Netanya.
Tzarfati (11) and Dominique Wassi (42, 72) scored for Petah Tikva, which is
still eight points from safety, while Serghei Alexeev (62) netted for
Maccabi Haifa hosts Maccabi Petah Tikva on Monday.