Local Soccer: Mac TA shows top four credentials with 3-1 win at Hapoel Beersheba

Local Soccer Mac TA sho

Maccabi Tel Aviv strengthened its position in the Premier League's top four on Monday, claiming a 3-1 victory at Hapoel Beersheba in the final game of the weekend. Three first half goals gave Tel Aviv its first win in a month and took it three points clear of fifth-placed Betar Jerusalem and to within three points of second-placed Hapoel Tel Aviv. Beersheba had won two straight matches entering Monday's encounter, but its dreadful defensive play cost it dearly once more and gave it no chance against the yellow-and-blue. Maccabi scored three goals in 20 minutes, with Shiran Yeini netting the opener in the 20th, Emmanuel Mayuka grabbing the second in the 36th and Guillermo Israilevich all but clinching the victory four minutes later. Maor Melikson scored a consolation goal from the penalty spot in the 88th minute, but it was too little too late for Beersheba, which is only five points clear of rock-bottom Ahi Nazareth despite remaining in sixth position. "Everything went as planned in the first half," Tel Aviv coach Avi Nimni said. "We know exactly where we stand as a team and we are rebuilding patiently." Maccabi, which hosts league leader Maccabi Haifa next Monday, looked the better side from the start, but it was the hosts which had a superb chance to take an early lead. Melikson only had 'keeper Liran Strauber to beat in the 12th minute, but sent a feeble shot straight at the Tel Aviv stopper. Eight minutes later, Maccabi got its reward for the early pressure. Yeini broke into the Beersheba box and blasted an unstoppable shot past Tvrtko Kale. Tel Aviv continued to press forward, and in the 36th minute doubled its advantage. After a great move down the left flank, Ivica Iliev squared the ball for Mayuka who tucked in his team's second with ease. Five minutes before the break, Israilevich wrapped up the win. Tamir Cahlon crossed perfectly for the diminutive midfielder and the unmarked Israilevich had no trouble sending his volley beyond Kale.