hapoel petah tikva_311.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel and Maccabi warmed up for next week’s Tel Aviv derby with tight Premier League victories on Saturday.
Hapoel defeated Maccabi Netanya 2-1 at Bloomfield Stadium to go top of the standings for at least 24 hours, with Maccabi Haifa needing a victory at Betar Jerusalem on Sunday to return to first position.
Netanya defender Mariano Caporale gifted Hapoel the lead with an owngoal less than four minutes in and Ben Sahar doubled the margin in the 56th minute with his seventh goal in the last six matches.
Sergy Tretyak got Netanya back in the game with a 77th-minute strike, but thanks to goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, Tel Aviv had no real trouble securing its seventh league victory in its past eight matches.
“We didn’t play well tonight,” said Hapoel assistant coach Yossi Abuksis, who guided the team in the absence of coach Eli Gutman, who had a catheter inserted on Saturday morning after suffering minor heart trouble.
“The early goal made us complacent, but we are nevertheless pleased with the win.”
Maccabi, which hosts its arch-rival next Sunday, claimed its third consecutive victory under coach Moti Ivanir on Saturday, edging Hapoel Petah Tikva 1-0 at National Stadium in Ramat Gan thanks to Gal Cohen’s 67th minute own-goal.
“We might not have played well, but I’ve learned that in soccer the most important thing is the final result,” said Ivanir, who will take his team to Ramat Gan to face Petah Tikva once more in the eighth round of the State Cup on Tuesday.
“Clearly, we would have liked to play better, but Petah Tikva gave us a tough time. We expect to play better, but you also need to know how to win these types of matches.”
The yellow-and-blue struggled to find a breakthrough in a poor first half, but Petah Tikva would eventually help Maccabi return home with all three points.
Four minutes into the second half, Ghanaian defender Daniel Addo was shown a second yellow card for a reckless challenge and in the 67th minute the hosts gifted Maccabi the win.
Two minutes after Petah Tikva striker Ohad Kadusi squandered a golden opportunity two meters from goal, captain Cohen completely fluffed his clearance, sending the ball into the back of his own net.
Even with 10-men, Petah Tikva had its chances to equalize, but Maccabi held on for a third straight win which will give it plenty of confidence ahead of next week’s derby.
After winning just once in nine matches, Bnei Yehuda claimed its second victory in three games on Saturday, beating Hapoel Ashkelon 2-0 at Bloomfield Stadium.
Shalev Menashe scored the opener in the 78th minute, with Pedro Galvan clinching the win eight minutes later.
Ironi Kiryat Shmona won for the third time in four matches on Saturday, beating sorry Hapoel Ramat Gan 3-0 on the road thanks to three goals in eight firsthalf minutes through Elroei Cohen (20) and Shimon Abu Hazeira (24, 27).
Maccabi Petah Tikva recorded a dramatic 3-1 win at Ashdod SC, with all four goals coming in the final 20 minutes.
Joe Bizera scored for the visitors in the 70th minute, only for Dimitar Makriev to equalize eight minutes from time.
However, Omer Golan would put Petah Tikva back in the lead in the 84th minute before Nebojsa Marinkovic secured the win in stoppage time.
Also Saturday, Eden Ben-Basat’s 90thminute goal canceled out Nicolas Palchuk’s 37th-minute tally to give Hapoel Haifa a 1-1 tie against Hapoel Acre at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium, while Hapoel Beersheba drew 1-1 at Bnei Sakhnin, with Kostadin Hazurov (30) scoring for the hosts and William Suarez (83) equalizing for Beersheba.