Greens back in 1st place after Maccabi Tel Aviv falls

Mac Haifa tops Ashdod, Beersheba blanks yellow-and-blue • Hap Jerusalem wins, Beitar draws

 Rotem Hatuel (front) celebrates after his 59th-minute goal during Hapoel Beersheba’s 2-0 victory over visiting Maccabi Tel Aviv on Monday night at Turner Stadium. (photo credit: Liron Moldovan)
Rotem Hatuel (front) celebrates after his 59th-minute goal during Hapoel Beersheba’s 2-0 victory over visiting Maccabi Tel Aviv on Monday night at Turner Stadium.
(photo credit: Liron Moldovan)

Maccabi Haifa downed Ashdod SC 3-1 in Israel Premier League action as the Greens scored three unanswered goals to move into first place ahead of their all-important Champions League game this week against Benfica.

The port city squad stunned the hosts as Ran Ben Shimon’s side grabbed a quick lead off an own-goal by Abdoulaye Seck, but Timothy Awany did the same for Barak Bachar’s squad soon thereafter as the score was all knotted up at 1-1 by the 23rd minute.

Frantzdy Pierrot took a Mavis Tchibota ball and slammed it home 10 minutes later to snatch the lead for Haifa as Muhammed Abu Fani added an insurance marker in the 73rd minute to sew up the victory.

“We have to appreciate every win in this busy time,” Bachar said. “We have players who are injured that played and we have a squad with more than 12 or 13 players who can play. Whoever had the opportunity to play really showed that they are an integral part of this big roster.”

“We have to appreciate every win in this busy time.”

Barak Bachar

Hapoel Beersheba's impressive win

Down south, Hapoel Beersheba blanked Maccabi Tel Aviv 2-0 to knock the yellow-and-blue out of first place and close to within just two points of second place.

 MACCABI HAIFA teammates celebrate after Omer Atzili's first goal in the seventh minute sent the Greens on their way to a shocking 2-0 victory over Juventus on Tuesday night in their Champions League Group H clash at Sammy Ofer Stadium (credit: RONEN ZVULUN) MACCABI HAIFA teammates celebrate after Omer Atzili's first goal in the seventh minute sent the Greens on their way to a shocking 2-0 victory over Juventus on Tuesday night in their Champions League Group H clash at Sammy Ofer Stadium (credit: RONEN ZVULUN)

Alexandru Paun beat Maccabi’s keeper Daniel Peretz from in close in the 27th minute to take a 1-0 lead. Just ahead of the break, Maccabi midfielder Daniel Glazer was issued a red card after receiving a pair of yellow cards for reckless tackles, which reduced the visitors to 10 men for the balance of the contest.

Vladen Ivic substituted off both Eran Zahavi and Oscar Glouch at halftime and then gave up an insurance marker by Rotem Hatuel off a free kick to seal the victory for the southerners.

“We are always looking at ourselves and trying to improve our play each and every game,’ Beersheba coach Elyaniv Barda said. “We wanted to keep a clean sheet which we were able to do. This was our 23rd game of the season across all competitions with a very packed schedule, including flights, so it was thanks to our fans who were able to push us on.”

“This was one of the weakest games of the season,” a disappointed Ivic said. “We could have been up 2-0 in the first 10 minutes of the game, but we didn’t score. When we lost a player a lot of things changed. We have to think about our mistakes and understand how to fix them.”

“This was one of the weakest games of the season.”

Vladen Ivic

Elsewhere, at the Moshava Stadium, Hapoel Jerusalem blanked Sektzia Ness Ziona 2-0 to get back onto the winning track.

Ondrej Baco scored from in close in the sixth minute while Guni Naor scored early on in the second half to give Jerusalem the three points.

“This is the second time that we responded with a win right after a loss and that is why I am satisfied,” Jerusalem coach Ziv Arie said. “I’m really happy for our fans because last week they came out and we didn’t give them anything to be happy about. It was very important that we came into this game and made sure that everyone would have a big smile on their face. We were all mixed up last game… we aren’t Maccabi Tel Aviv just yet.”

In the capital city, Beitar Jerusalem was held to a goalless draw by Hapoel Haifa, which finished the game with only nine players on the pitch.

The Carmel Reds were reduced to 10 men in the 33rd minute when Amit Glazer was issued a straight red card due to a reckless tackle on Ofir Kriaf, and then they lost Kwame Quee as the midfielder was also sent off for the same reason in the 73rd minute.

But Roni Levy’s team was able to hold on to take a surprising draw despite being two men down to split the points.

“We pressed at the end of the game for the winner, but in general this was a very bad game,” a disappointed Beitar coach Yossi Abukasis said. “We tried to do something and we just couldn’t. This would have been a game that would have pushed us ahead, but we just didn’t have the patience and intelligence to win.”

“This was a very important game and it was critical to take a point in this game after the run that we had recently,” Haifa’s new head coach Roni Levy explained. “The players were able to stand their ground until the end of the game despite the two red cards. I am trying to put some things into the team, but it’s all a process since I just joined the team.”

Meanwhile, Maccabi Netanya escaped with a 2-1 win over 10-man Bnei Reineh thanks to Liran Rotman’s goal deep into second-half injury time to hand Benny Lam’s squad the three points.

Eden Kartsev opened the scoring for Netanya with a scorcher from 20 meters out to beat Arik Yanko for a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute. But Richard Boateng quickly drew the visitors even at 1-1.

Early on in the second half, Reineh was reduced to 10 men after a reckless tackle by Oleksandr Noyok, and Netanya poured on the attack to find the go-ahead marker. Finally, in the 96th minute, an oncoming Rotman put home an Igor Zlatanovic cross coming off the right wing to give the hosts the points and the victory.

Elsewhere, Hapoel Tel Aviv got by Ironi Kiryat Shmona 2-1 to take the win and the three points at an empty Bloomfield Stadium, due to a sanction doled out by the Israel Football Association because of the flares thrown during the derby earlier in October.

Itamar Shviro gave visiting Kiryat Shmona a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute, but Yoav Hofmayster was sent off a quarter-hour later after picking up his second yellow card. The Reds took full advantage of the extra man, as Alen Ozbolt slotted home a penalty ahead of the halftime break while Dan Einbinder found the winner in the second half to give Slobodan Drapic’s side the triumph.

“The players aren’t happy with the way we won the game as we didn’t play well,” Drapic explained. “However, we took the points and we should be content about that. We were lucky that Kiryat Shmona received a red card because we were really not good. I hope that these points will give us confidence going forward.”

Also, Hapoel Hadera walloped Bnei Sakhnin 4-1 as Samy Bourard scored a pair of penalties to take the points at Doha Stadium.

Guy Melamed pounced on a rebound to give the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute, but from that point on it was all Hadera.

Mohammed Khatib headed home a Samy Bourard corner kick, Saar Fadida jumped all over an errant back pass to beat Gad Amos and Bourard slotted home a penalty after a handball in the box at the stroke of halftime as Hadera snatched a 3-1 lead at the break.

Bourard completed his brace after being pulled down in the area as he elegantly chipped the ball over Amos for his second penalty goal of the game to wrap up the win.

“Doha is a very tough pitch to play on,” Hadera coach Assaf Nimni said. “But we passed a very difficult test.”