Atar, Beitar Jerusalem best Maccabi Haifa

Hapoel Haifa stuns Maccabi Tel Aviv with draw, Beersheba blanks Ness Ziona, Late tally lifts Netanya

BEITAR JERUSALEM players celebrate with Eliran Atar (center) after the forward scored on a 26th-minute penalty in his first match with the club to help the yellow-and-black beat Maccabi Haifa 2-0 last night in Israel Premier League action at Teddy Stadium (photo credit: BERNEY ARDOV)
BEITAR JERUSALEM players celebrate with Eliran Atar (center) after the forward scored on a 26th-minute penalty in his first match with the club to help the yellow-and-black beat Maccabi Haifa 2-0 last night in Israel Premier League action at Teddy Stadium
(photo credit: BERNEY ARDOV)
Beitar Jerusalem defeated Maccabi Haifa 2-0 at Teddy Stadium on Monday night thanks to a first-half penalty by new recruit Eliran Atar and a late goal by Freddy Plumain.
Atar, who moved from Maccabi Tel Aviv during the transfer window, gave the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute after Ali Mohammed drew the spot kick by being pulled down in the box by Greens defender Ofir Arad.
Haifa had a chance to equalize after a Mohammed hand-ball gave Tjaronn Chery a penalty kick as well, but Beitar ’keeper Itamar Nitzan made the save to maintain Jerusalem’s lead right before the break.
Plumain added a late marker during second-half injury time to seal the home win for third-place Beitar over the second-place Greens.
Meanwhile, Hapoel Haifa held first-place Maccabi Tel Aviv to a 1-1 draw at Sammy Ofer Stadium.
Yonatan Cohen sent a terrific through ball to Itay Shechter, who made no mistake and put it behind a helpless Jasmin Buric. However, the one-goal lead wouldn’t hold up as Ness Zamir scored a 94th-minute strike for Haifa to his team a split of the points in a shocking result for the yellow-and-blue.
“We deserved more than a point,” said frustrated Maccabi coach Vladimir Ivic. “We were better and we missed some opportunities in both halves. But they scored at the end on the one chance that they had, that’s football and you have to play until the last second.”
Israeli superstar Eran Zahavi began training with Maccabi Tel Aviv this week at his request to keep in shape due to the postponement of the Chinese League. The Israel national team faces Scotland in March in a Nation’s League playoff game for one of the final places in this summer’s Euro tournament.
Elsewhere, Hapoel Beersheba routed Ness Ziona 3-0 as striker Ben Sahar scored a brace for Yossi Abuksis’s squad, which was reduced to 10 men just before halftime.
Dutch winger Elton Acolatse, who just joined Beersheba in the recent transfer window, assisted on Sahar’s first goal in the ninth minute, while the striker added his second 22 minutes later to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.
Beersheba’s Or Dadia was issued a red card in the 41st minutes, leaving the Reds a player down, but that didn’t stop Miguel Vitor from heading home the Reds third goal to wrap up the victory.
Also, Maccabi Netanya slipped by Hapoel Ra’anana 2-1 as Tim Heubach scored a 91st-minute penalty to give the diamond city side the three points.
Yoav Tomer gave host Ra’anana a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute via a penalty, but halftime substitute Fatos Beciraj found the equalizer just a minute into the second half to draw Netanya even.
As the sides traded chances, Avichai Yadin was sent off with his second yellow in the 83rd minute giving Slobodan Drapic’s Netanya squad a man advantage.
But Ra’anana’s Ben Binyamin handled the ball in his own box to gift Netanya a penalty that Heubach made no mistake with and put it behind ’keeper Asaf Tzur for the win.
“We have three more games that are like a State Cup final,” said Drapic following the win. “It was important for us to come into the second half ready to go after a poor first half. That’s how we want to see Netanya and we have to go for it all over the last few games of the regular season.”
Hapoel Hadera defeated Hapoel Kfar Saba 2-0 at the Netanya Stadium. In the 38th minute, Ben Reichert was issued his second yellow card after he committed a foul on George Fochive in the midfield, which left the visitors with only 10 men for the remainder.
Fochive then gave Hadera a 1-0 lead right before the break as he scored from inside the box in the 45th minute. The hosts added an insurance marker in the 62nd minute when Eliel Peretz put the back into the left corner of the goal as Sharon Mimer’s squad took the three points.
“There’s no better fun that this,” said Mimer. “We have good energy and are we are playing well. The players are playing hard and we are seeing the dividends as we continue to win.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv knocked off Ironi Kiryat Shmona 2-0 at Bloomfield Stadium as Omri Altman scored a pair of second-half penalties to take the win.
Ori Tza’adon committed a foul on Altman for a 65th penalty that he scored from and seven minutes later a Tza’adon hand-ball led to Altman’s second goal from the spot as the Reds took the points.
“It was crucial for us to come back and win after the disaster at Maccabi Haifa,” said Hapoel coach Nir Klinger, referring to his club’s 5-0 loss last week. “I’m still upset about that game and I am not going to get too excited about this win. As a big club like Hapoel Tel Aviv we had to come back and win after what had happened.”
Altman was also content with the victory.
“We had a tough time in the first half, but we were able to draw a couple of penalties in the second. I’m happy we won and the most important thing now for us is to go on a winning streak.”
Bnei Yehuda slipped by Ashdod SC 1-0 at the port city thanks to new recruit Mihlali Mayambela’s 24th-minute goal. The South African midfielder, who just arrived during the winter transfer window, skillfully dribbled into the box and scored off his own rebound to notch the only marker of the match.
“We’re on the right path,” said Bnei Yehuda coach Elisha Levy said following the game. “Last week we lost after winning at Beitar Jerusalem, but today we came back and corrected our mistakes and played an excellent game.”