Maccabi Tel Aviv finally concedes a goal, held to 1-1 draw

Visiting Ness Ziona holds yellow-and-blue to draw • Mac Haifa can’t capitalize vs lowly Ra’anana

YONAS MALADA (right) and Maccabi Netanya bombarded Hapoel Tel Aviv ’keeper Yoav Gerafi on Sunday night, scoring early and often in a 4-0 victory over the Reds. (photo credit: BERNEY ARDOV)
YONAS MALADA (right) and Maccabi Netanya bombarded Hapoel Tel Aviv ’keeper Yoav Gerafi on Sunday night, scoring early and often in a 4-0 victory over the Reds.
(photo credit: BERNEY ARDOV)
Maccabi Tel Aviv was held to a disappointing 1-1 draw with Ness Ziona at Bloomfield Stadium over the weekend to open up the second round of the Israel Premier League season.
Not only did the yellow-and-blue split the points at home for the fourth time in seven games this campaign, but ’keeper Daniel Tenenbaum finally conceded a goal after 13 straight clean sheets in league play.
Elad Shahaf gave the visitors the shock lead in the ninth minute as the winger took advantage of a poor clearance by the Maccabi defense to send a scorcher into the left corner of the goal from 16 meters. However, Israeli-American striker Aaron Schoenfeld pulled the hosts even just two minutes later, scoring from up close as each side picked up a point.
“This was not a good result for us,” said Maccabi coach Vladimir Ivic following the contest. “We wanted to win and we played to take all three points. But we lost confidence in the second half and we will have to go back and analyze the game. Ness Ziona played well with many players behind the ball and we were unable to break through.”
Ness Ziona coach Amir Turgeman also looked back at the clash with a sense of what might have been.
“We could have won and that was our goal. We had a few good chances and Elad Shahaf broke a historical streak. We have players with huge hearts and I’m proud of them. I’m sure that if we continue playing this way we will remain in the top division.”
Meanwhile, Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Ra’anana played to a dull goalless draw at the Moshava Stadium as the Greens lost an opportunity to pull to within one point of first-place Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Haifa controlled the pace of play, but Ra’anana ’keeper Asaf Tzur came up big time and time again to stymie Marko Balbul’s Haifa squad. The draw gave Ra’anana coach Niso Avitan his first point since taking over from Menachem Koretzy last week.
“We weren’t accurate in the first half,” said Balbul. “We didn’t control the game the way we had wanted to and even though we played better in the second half it just wasn’t good enough to break the deadlock and we dropped important points.”
Avitan also looked back at the game with perspective.
“We played a very good defensive match and it’s not simple to stop Maccabi Haifa. We have plenty to work on and there’s no question that we have to bring more quality on the attack, but we have a good base to work with.”
Also, Maccabi Netanya drowned Hapoel Tel Aviv 4-0 in a one-sided affair at the Netanya Stadium.
Gaby Kanichowsky opened the souring in the 28th minute thanks to a give-and-go with Roie Kehat for a 1-0 lead. Just five minutes later, Kehat fed striker Guy Melamed a perfect pass as the striker pounded the ball behind a helpless Yoav Gerafi to double the Diamond City squad’s advantage.
Yones Malade headed home Slobodan Drapic’s side’s third goal in the 70th minute, while Melamed completed a brace four minutes later to give Netanya the huge win over the Tel Aviv Reds.
“We have now collected 13 points in five games,” said a content Drapic. “We’ve been able to right the ship after a less than ideal start to the season. When you work hard you receive a prize like we did today and we scored some great goals.”
Hapoel Kfar Saba stunned Hapoel Haifa 2-0 at Sammy Ofer Stadium as the visitors snatched important points away from home.
Boubacar Traore fed Mahmoud Yousef as the latter’s right-footed strike beat Jasmin Buric to give Ofir Haim’s squad a 1-0 lead.
Benjamin Kuku had a chance to double the Greens lead, but his late first-half penalty was stopped by Buric to keep the score tight after 45 minutes. However, it didn’t take long for Kfar Saba to add a second goal right after the break as Boubacar finished off a team play in the box to help his team take all three points.
“This was a great win,” said an excited Haim. “We battled and played hard. I am very happy with the victory. We knew that Haifa was in excellent shape, but we planned well and the final outcome was the result of our efforts.”
Ironi Kiryat Shmona surprised Bnei Yehuda 2-1 up north. James Adeniyi set up Omer Lakou in the seventh minute to give the hosts a quick lead, while Cillian Sheridan added a second strike right before the break for a 2-0 advantage after 45 minutes.
Dor Kochav pulled a goal back in the 56th minute, but it wasn’t enough for Yossi Abuksis’s side to salvage a point on the road.
Afterwards, Kiryat Shmona coach Kobi Refuah spoke about the victory.
“We had a fantastic first half, but we dropped off a bit in the second half. However, we still were able to create some chances. I hope that we can continue to improve as we work on every parameter of our game.”
Hapoel Hadera surprised Ashdod 2-0 at the port city as new coach Sharon Mimer recorded a victory in his first game in charge.
Roie Zikri scored a nice goal from outside of the box in the 29th minute while Sagi Dror fooled the entire Ashdod team by scoring from the middle of the field as Hadera took all three points in the victory.
On Monday night to close out the Round 14 slate, Beitar Jerusalem edged host Hapoel Beersheba 1-0 to take sole possession of third place in the standings.