K8 suffers shock first loss at Mac PT

League-leader’s 16-match unbeaten streak comes to an end, while Beersheba upset at home by Ra’anana.

Maccabi Petah Tikva’s Marwan Kabha (left) celebrates after scoring his team’s third goal in last night’s 3-0 victory over Ironi Kiryat Shmona. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Petah Tikva’s Marwan Kabha (left) celebrates after scoring his team’s third goal in last night’s 3-0 victory over Ironi Kiryat Shmona.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Ironi Kiryat Shmona’s unbeaten start to the Premier League season ended in emphatic and stunning fashion on Saturday night, while Hapoel Beersheba also dropped to a shocking loss.
League-leader Kiryat Shmona had gone 16 matches without defeat before being beaten 3-0 by the struggling Maccabi Petah Tikva on Saturday.
Petah Tikva had won just one of its previous six matches, but coach Ran Ben-Shimon got the better of his former team, which he led to the championship in 2011/12.
“Petah Tikva deserved to win,” admitted Kiryat Shmona coach Barak Bachar. “We didn’t play so well, but that happens.”
Petah Tikva got off to the better start and took a deserved lead in the 32nd minute through Idan Shemesh. Naor Pesser’s header doubled the advantage seven minutes into the second half and Kiryat Shmona’s humbling loss was capped by Marwan Kabha’s solo effort in the 68th minute.
Two-time defending champion Maccabi Tel Aviv can move within a single point of the summit should it defeat Maccabi Haifa at Sammy Ofer Stadium on Sunday.
The yellow-and-blue can also move five points clear of Beersheba in third place after the latter suffered its first home loss of the season on Saturday.
Beersheba entered the match against Hapoel Ra’anana at Vasermil Stadium as a massive favorite having won its previous six home games.
Ra’anana also came in with a nine match winless streak, scoring just a single goal over that stretch. To complicate matters even further for the visitors, Ra’anana experienced a tumultuous week, with coach Haim Silvas being sacked on Sunday, only to be rehired on Thursday.
Nevertheless, it was Ra’anana which deservingly claimed all three points with a 1-0 win through Mamadou Thiam’s (18) back-heel.
“It seems like the stormy week we experienced changed everything and allowed us to start anew,” said Silvas. “Nothing worked from the first moment,” said Beersheba coach Elisha Levy. “Ra’anana was first to every ball and our play was completely stuck.”
The drama of the day was played out in Ashdod, where Michael Ohana’s goal three minutes into stoppage time gave the hosts a 3-3 draw against Beitar Jerusalem.
Shlomi Azulay (19) and Itzik Cohen (55) opened a 2-0 advantage for Jerusalem and the visitors still held a two-goal lead entering the final 10 minutes after Omer Atzili netted his team’s third goal (73) following Alexander Davidov’s (57) strike for Ashdod.
However, David Solari (82) handed the hosts a lifeline before Ohana scored a dramatic equalizer.
Hapoel Haifa climbed four places in the standings on Saturday thanks to a 2-0 win at the bankrupt Maccabi Netanya. Haifa was in last place only three weeks ago after claiming just three wins from its first 13 contests.
However, Reuven Atar’s side has won three of four games since, and is in seventh place despite scoring a league-low 12 goals to date, five of them own goals.
Netanya’s Yarin Hassan gave Haifa the lead in the 76th minute before Or Ostvind secured the victory eight minutes later.
Rock-bottom Hapoel Acre drew 1-1 with fellow-struggler Hapoel Petah Tikva on Saturday after Edi Gotlib (73) canceled out Omri Altman’s opener (42).
Also Saturday, Hapoel Tel Aviv and Bnei Sakhnin drew 1-1 at Bloomfield Stadium.
Ismaeel Ryan handed Sakhnin the lead five minutes into the second half, with Ramzi Sfuri leveling the score in the 71st minute.