Yellow-and-blue back on top of standings

Mac TA keeps Hap Beersheba pointless through six matches with 4-1 trouncing.

Eliran Atar 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Eliran Atar 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv returned to the top of the Premier League standings on Sunday night, bouncing back from its first defeat of the season with a 4-1 victory at Hapoel Beersheba.
Despite winning its first four matches of the league campaign and reaching the Europa League group stage, there were critics who began questioning the team following its 3- 1 loss at Hapoel Ramat Hasharon last Wednesday.
However, Tel Aviv rebounded in the fashion you would expect from a title contender on Sunday, outplaying the sorry Beersheba on the way to an easy three points that took it back above arch-rival Hapoel Tel Aviv.
“When the match ends it all looks easy, but we had to work very hard to make it look that way,” said Maccabi coach Moti Ivanir, whose team hosts Dynamo Kiev in its second Europa League group match on Thursday.
“We had a superb first half and the fact that we won even without seven significant players shows how powerful our squad is.”
Maccabi will face its first true test in the league next Monday when it hosts reigning champion Maccabi Haifa.
Tel Aviv has already opened a fivepoint cushion over Haifa at this early stage of the season and Ivanir knows that a win over the Greens next week could prove to be very significant.
“We first of all want to make sure we represent the club with honor against Kiev, but for us the league comes above all else,” Ivanir said.
After losing for the sixth straight time, Beersheba will hope to finally get off the mark when it visits fellowstruggler Hapoel Haifa on Saturday.
Despite Beersheba’s awful start to the season, coach Nir Klinger believes he will still be at the helm for that match.
“This is a very difficult situation,” Klinger said. “We were sure we were on our way out of the crisis. Sometimes you have tough situations in life and you need to know how to deal with them. We need to start thinking like a struggling club and play accordingly.
“The best medicine for this crisis is points.”
Maccabi always looked like the more dangerous team at Vasermil Stadium, but the hosts did have their chances to stun the yellow-and-blue.
Evyatar Iluz found himself with only ’keeper Guy Haimov to beat in the 13th minute, but he couldn’t place his shot on target and it seemed all but inevitable that the visitors would eventually take the lead.
In the 30th minute, Barak Itzhaki should have done better with his shot from just inside the box, but moments later he gave himself a perfect 27th birthday present, firing a superb effort from 20 meters out straight into the bottom left corner of the Beersheba goal.
Iluz squandered a golden opportunity to equalize in the 38th minute when he released a poor shot from close range straight at Haimov and one minute later the match was as good as over.
Gal Alberman, making his first league start of the season, sent an excellent long ball forward to Yoav Ziv, who immediately squared the ball for Eliran Atar to slot in Maccbai’s second.
Substitute Roberto Colautti piled the misery on Beersheba with a super finish in the 67th minute and Yossi Shivhon’s first goal for the hosts two minutes later was little consolation for the southerners.

Colautti completed the scoring with his second of the match 13 minutes from time, with goalkeeper Marcin Cabaj continuing his terrible start to the season by amateurishly spilling Haris Medunjanin’s free kick.
On Monday, Maccabi Petah Tikva hosts Rishon Lezion while Ashdod SC visits Bnei Yehuda.
After losing its first match of the season 4-1 to Hapoel Tel Aviv, Petah Tikva has won three of four games, while Rishon Lezion has gone in the opposite direction, picking up just a single point after taking a maximum six in its first two encounters.