Maccabi tops Hapoel in explosive TA derby

Yellow-and-blue atop the table after Bnei Reineh upsets Maccabi Haifa • Both Jerusalem clubs lose.

  IT HAS been an uncharacteristic frustrating few weeks for Maccabi Haifa, with Bnei Reineh shocking the back-to-back Israeli champion 1-0 in local Premier League play (photo credit: MAOR ELKASLASI)
IT HAS been an uncharacteristic frustrating few weeks for Maccabi Haifa, with Bnei Reineh shocking the back-to-back Israeli champion 1-0 in local Premier League play
(photo credit: MAOR ELKASLASI)

Maccabi Tel Aviv blanked Hapoel Tel Aviv 3-0 in Monday night’s derby in a game that saw many stoppages occur over the course of the first half due to fans throwing flares on the field.

Immediately after the Israel Premier League match began at Bloomfield Stadium, fans on both sides began tossing colored flares onto the pitch, which kept delaying the game and forced the referee to add 25 minutes of first-half stoppage time. Due to the continuous starts and stops, the two squads had a tough time finding chances as the first half ended goalless.

However, the second half was an entirely different story as the yellow-and-blue began to dominate play and finally broke the deadlock when starlet Oscar Gloukh’s left-footed laser found the far corner of the Hapoel goal to give the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 75th minute.

Superstar striker Eran Zahavi doubled the advantage when he took a Parfait Guiagon pass and put the ball past Reds ’keeper Stefan Marinovic, while Djorde Jovanovic polished off the win deep into injury time.

The win, combined with the Maccabi Haifa loss, saw Maccabi Tel Aviv leapfrog the Greens and into first place.

“The country’s fans are similar to Greece and Serbia, but not like today where the game was stopped seven or eight times,” Maccabi bench boss Vladen Ivic said.

“I don’t remember something like this. It’s most difficult for the players as they had warmed up and then they have to keep stopping. This is the worst thing for both teams as they are prepared to play from the start of the game and there could be injuries. I hope that this will not happen again.”

As for the gameplay itself, Ivic was content with what he saw from his charges.

“I am satisfied that we created a lot of chances, and in the second half we did as well and we deserved the win. We played very disciplined defensively as well.”

Hapoel coach Slobodan Drapic also discussed the extracurricular activity that took place.

“This shouldn’t have happened and we are here to play soccer. I don’t want to or have to deal with these things. The atmosphere was good and the referee was right not to stop the game. This was something that shouldn’t happen from both sides. Maccabi has more quality and we had to be ready for everything. We played tactically, but we need more players.”

Elsewhere, Bnei Reineh shocked Maccabi Haifa 1-0 as Shlomi Azulay scored the lone goal of the match for the newly promoted club as it took the three points and the win.

The Greens, who had played just a few days earlier at Juventus in Champions League play, saw wholesale changes in the starting lineup made by head coach Barak Bachar, which backfired in the first half.

Rarely used Yinon Eliyahu pulled down Shlomi Azulay as he broke towards the Haifa goal, earning the defender a straight red card while reducing the back-to-back Israeli champion to 10 men.

On the ensuing free kick, Azulay sent a perfect ball that went off Nikita Rukavytsya and confused second-choice ’keeper Roi Mishpati and went right into the goal for the 1-0 Reineh lead that stood up for the balance of the game.“There’s nothing that comes close to the feeling after you have defeated Maccabi Haifa,” an emotional Reineh coach Sharon Mimer commented.

“We beat a Champions League team and I have to credit the players who believed that they could win. There’s no question that Haifa’s loss to Hapoel Jerusalem made them prepare much more diligently for us, but we took the three points.”

Bachar lamented his side’s effort

“We beat Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Beersheba and we lost to Hapoel Jerusalem and Bnei Reineh,” Bachar began. “We didn’t enter this game well even though I felt that we had prepared as best as we could due to the circumstances. But that doesn’t justify a loss like this. This is very disappointing and the players should have been able to win this game, even with 10 men.”

Meanwhile, Hapoel Hadera downed hapless Beitar Jerusalem 2-1 as the capital city side finds itself firmly entrenched in the league’s basement.

Jonathan Cisse headed home an early marker while Muhammed Khatib doubled the advantage to give the hosts a 2-0 lead in the 24th minute.

Things went from bad to worse when Ronen Hanchis was issued a straight red card for a reckless tackle to leave Beitar with 10 men for a little over a full half.

Ion Nicolaescu cut the lead to 2-1 via penalty in the 62nd minute, but that was it from the yellow-and-black as Hadera took the win.

“The second half was positive and can give us some optimism,” said Gal Cohen, who was on the bench for Beitar with head coach Yossi Abukasis suspended.

“Everyone knows that we can do more, but we are starting off the games poorly and we are conceding goals at a worrying rate. I believe that we should have taken a point in this game.”

At Teddy Stadium, Bnei Sakhnin downed Hapoel Jerusalem 2-1 to send the capital city Reds to their first loss of the season.

Ovadia Darwish nodded home the opening goal for Sakhnin early on in the first half but William Togui drew Ziv Arie’s squad even at 1-1 in the 63rd minute.

As the game looked to settle down, Ante Puljic was able to stun the hosts as his 79th minute attempt found its way into the Jerusalem goal as Haim Silvas’s team took the points.

Hapoel Beersheba and Hapoel Haifa

In the southern capital, Hapoel Beersheba and Hapoel Haifa drew 2-2 as the southerners knotted the match up with a quarter-hour remaining in the match to split the points.

Hatem Abd Elhamed gave the Carmel Reds the lead when he scored from in close off a corner kick, but Helder Lopes put home a penalty in the 37th minute to send the squads into the break tied at 1-1.

With Hanan Maman leading the break, he sent the ball to striker Alon Turgeman who made no mistake as he gave the hosts a 2-1 lead. However, Rotem Hatuel scored yet another goal, his fourth of the season for Elyaniv Barda’s team, to take a point in a tight game.

Also, Maccabi Netanya and Ironi Ness Ziona played to a 1-1 draw as the two sides split the points.

Igor Zlatanovic scored via a third-minute penalty to give the diamond city side a 1-0 lead, but Or Roizman found the equalizer in the 42nd minute as each team earned a point for their efforts.

Up north, Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Ashdod SC played to an entertaining 1-1 draw as Roi Kehat found the equalizer in second-half injury time to give a point to each club.

Itay Ben Shabbat was sent off in the second minute of the game due to a reckless foul as the northerners were reduced to 10 men very early on.

Lucas Salinas took advantage of the extra man to give the port city squad a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute, but Ashdod then lost Shalev Harush after the attacker was issued a second yellow card early in the second half.

The hosts looked to even the game up, which they finally did in the 91st minute when Joseph Mbong delivered a perfect pass that Kehat nodded home to split the points.