Eliran Atar 311.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
After six games without a victory, Betar Jerusalem returned to winning ways on
Monday night, defeating Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-0 at National Stadium in Ramat
A 63rd-minute Amit Ben-Shushan goal was enough to secure a crucial
three points for Yuval Naim’s side up to 11th place in the
Maccabi, meanwhile, remained three points behind Hapoel Tel
Aviv in second position, but Moti Ivanir’s squad failed to win for the fourth
time in five games and left the crowd frustrated.
This makeshift Betar
side proved once again it has the ability to raise its game against the top
teams, having battled to a 1-0 loss at Hapoel Tel Aviv earlier this season.
Jerusalem hosts Maccabi Haifa in two week’s time and will be confident of
another positive performance.
For a team going through a rough patch,
Betar was surprisingly sprightly at the start. Playing in its all-white away
strip, the team from the capital bossed the game through the midfield, creating
a slew of chances in the opening half hour.
Right back Eli Dasa should
have done better when he was put through early on, only to boot the ball over
the cross bar. And lone striker Ben- Shushan appeared to have fully recovered
from an injury that kept him out for the last few weeks, causing the Tel Aviv
defense all sorts of problems.
But while there was control in the middle,
Jerusalem continuously failed to hit the target.
And it was far from all
Betar. Maccabi undoubtedly has the far deeper squad, and as the first half drew
to a close, the home team grew in confidence and began to impose its
Eliran Atar had a golden opportunity to put Maccabi in front
on 35 minutes when left back Yoav Ziv whipped in a cross from the
But the striker could only manage to head wide of Betar
goal-keeper Ohad Saidof’s right post, further increasing the frustration among
the home support.
Coming off of the 2-1 Europa League defeat to Stoke
City at Bloomfield Stadium last Thursday, Tel Aviv clearly had a point to
However, for all its efforts, Maccabi found it difficult to get
past the Jerusalem defense, and in particular second-string ’keeper Saidof, who
showed an unexpected level quality.
And it was Jerusalem that went ahead
in the 63rd. Another former youth player, Shay Hadad, headed an Aviram Bruchian
cross against the goalpost and Ben-Shushan was quickest to react and knock the
ball over the line to send the Beitar fans into delirium.
attempted to get back into the game, pushing up at every opportunity.
Atar came closest to scoring when he broke through the Betar defence and his
shot hit the inside of the post only to bounce agonizingly back out.
Betar, though, the situation is becoming even more difficult.
deal to sell the club to a pair of Americans fell through in the summer the
management was forced to build a makeshift team based almost entirely on players
who came through the club’s youth system.
As the season has worn on,
players have begun to show signs of inexperience and fatigue, and this was clear
towards the end of the first half on Monday, such as when midfielder Dan
Eibinder gave the ball away in his own penalty area and was lucky not to give
away a goal.
At the same time, these youngsters sometimes displayed a
level of exuberance.
When the game was going their way and the visitors
managed to pass the ball around comfortably, they had the ability to scare
Maccabi with unexpected uplifts of pace.
And with this surprising win,
Betar’s youthful lineup has got its faithful supporters believing that the worst
of the season is now behind them.