(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Chechen Zaur Sadayev scored his first goal for Beitar Jerusalem on Sunday night,
but the yellow-and-black’s hopes of playing in the championship playoffs
suffered a devastating blow when it only managed a 1-1 draw against Maccabi
Netanya at Teddy Stadium.
Beitar had picked up only a single point from
its previous five Premier League matches, with the turmoil that followed the
signing of Sadayev and Dzhabrail Kadiyev from Terek Grozny completely derailing
A win on Sunday would have propelled the team back up to
the coveted sixth place and Beitar looked to be heading to a victory after
Sadayev’s cool finish in the 48th minute.
Around 300 Beitar fans, who
have vehemently protested against the signing of the Muslim Chechens, left the
stadium after Sadayev scored, while the rest of the supporters cheered the
Sadayev was also given a standing ovation by almost all in
attendance after being substituted by Eran Levy in the 74th minute, but several
dozen Beitar fans greeted Netanya’s 77th-minute equalizer through Omri
Ben-Harush with celebrations, turning against their team.
closest to taking all three points in the final minutes, with Ahmed Saba’s shot
in the 86th minute skimming the upright.
The draw leaves Beitar in
seventh position, bringing it within a single point of Hapoel Ramat Hasharon in
sixth ahead of the final weekend of the regular season.
league-leader Maccabi Tel Aviv next week and will need to avoid defeat and for
other results to go its way to have any chance of reaching the championship
The league will be split into two sections after next week’s
action. The top six teams will play each other twice more to decide the
champion, while the bottom eight teams will play each other once more to
determine the relegation battle.
“This is a very disappointing result and
we have no excuses,” said Beitar assistant coach Jan Talesnikov. “We now no
longer depend on ourselves, but it isn’t over until it’s over. We are good
enough to be in the championship playoffs and if we don’t make it that would
clearly be a disappointment.”
Talesnikov was at least pleased at seeing
“I felt that love wins and that sport is the important
thing and not a man’s religion,” he said of what he was thinking after the goal.
“We respect every person regardless of his religion. Those fans who stayed in
the stadium are Beitar’s true supporters.”