Mac Haifa edges Hap Hadera 2-1

Maccabi Tel Aviv traveled north to Kiryat Shmona and took home the 2-1 win and the three points thanks to a brace by Omer Atzily.

Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Vidar Orn Kjartansson scores the opening goal against Maccabi Haifa (photo credit: ERAN LUF)
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Vidar Orn Kjartansson scores the opening goal against Maccabi Haifa
(photo credit: ERAN LUF)
Eli Gutman made a triumphant return to the Israel Premier League Ligat Japanika as his Maccabi Haifa took home a 2-1 win over second place Hapoel Hadera on Matchday 10.
The Carmel Greens couldn’t have gotten off to a better start under the new head coach, when Seydouba Soumah sent a perfect through ball to Mohammed Awaed that the youngster put into the right corner from ten meters for a 1-0 lead in the 4th minute. Awaed was again at the center of attention in the 40th minute as he chipped the ball to Nikita Rukavytsya, who scored going one on one against Hadera keeper Austin Ejide for a 2-0 advantage before the halftime break.
Hadera head coach Niso Avitan was ejected by the referee just as the second half was about to begin. However, without their leader on the sidelines the hosts were able to pull back a goal on a penalty in the 81st minute. Lucio, who was pulled down in the box by Sun Menachem in the box, stepped up to put home a perfect spot kick into the right corner to cut the Haifa lead to 2-1. Ange-Freddy Plumain had a chance to draw Hadera even in the 90th minute but his 25 meter free kick went over the bar as Haifa collected three points.
Gutman commented about the win following the match, “We worked very hard on the mental side of the game and we knew that we had to stick to our plan even when our quality dropped. I’m very happy for my players.” The coach continued, “I understand what the fans have been going through and I’ll give my soul in order for them to return home with a smile on their faces.”
Man of the match Mohammed Awaed spoke about the contest, “I’m happier about the win more than my goal and assist. It was important for us to win and I’m happy that I was able to help the club out and I hope that this will continue.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv traveled north to Kiryat Shmona and took home the 2-1 win and the three points thanks to a brace by Omer Atzily. The hosts broke the ice first in the 7th minute with a goal by Yoel Abuhatzeira but Atzily drilled home a free kick later on in the first half to head into the break knotted up at 1-1. The yellow-and-blue found the win thanks to a second half penalty issued due to a handball in the box that Aztily promptly scored from 11 meters. The victory gives Maccabi a 7 point lead over Bnei Yehuda and Hapoel Hadera as the league heads into the international break.
Goal scorer Atzily summed up the match, “This was a very important win and everyone knows how difficult it is to play and win in Kiryat Shmona. The brace I scored was a bonus and I’m happy we did the job we needed to do. Now it’s onto the break and then the next match.”
Hapoel Beersheba defeated Beitar Jerusalem 3-2 in a wild finish at Teddy Stadium in the capital city. Visiting Beersheba scored the first of five goals in the 75th minute on an own goal as Maor Melikson crossed the ball into the box that Tal Kahila accidentally knocked behind his keeper Itamar Nitzan while trying to clear it to safety. Seven minutes later Melikson doubled Beersheba’s lead when he drilled home a Nigel Hasselbaink pass for a 2-0 lead.
In the 85th minute, Kahila made good on his error as he headed home a Maor Bozaglo free kick to pull Beitar to within one goal, but seconds later Beersheba raced down the pitch as Hasselbaink slammed home the ball for a 3-1 advantage. Ofir Kriaf scored the host’s second goal in the 88th minute but it was too little too late as Barak Bachar’s squad remained 10 points back of first place Maccabi Tel Aviv with a 3-2 win.
Bnei Yehuda visited Hapoel Haifa at Sammy Ofer Stadium and returned to Tel Aviv with the win and three points following a 2-0 victory. Although Haifa controlled the contest, Yossi Abuksis and his Bnei Yehuda squad scored first when Yarden Shua put home the ball for a 1-0 lead in the 55th minute. Sagiv Yehezkel doubled the advantage during injury time when the winger took a Matan Baltaxa pass to score from inside the box for his first goal since April of 2016.
Maccabi Petah Tikva defeated Maccabi Netanya 1-0 in the 87th minute on perhaps the strangest goal of the season. With Lidor Cohen injured in the box and Habib Habibou attending to him, Manor Solomon crossed the ball into the area from the right side which Netanya keeper Dani Amos couldn’t get to. Habibou left Cohen for a split second for just enough time to stab the ball into the goal and then immediately went back to checking on his injured teammate without celebrating his winner.
Hapoel Tel Aviv hosted Hapoel Ra’anana at the Moshava Stadium as the sides played to a goalless draw and split the points. For Koby Refuah’s Tel Aviv Reds that was their fifth goalless draw in 10 games matching Bnei Yehuda’s feat in 1982/83.