Frantzdy Pierrot opened the scoring when he latched onto a Neta Lavi ball off a counter to give the Greens the lead in the 28th minute. But just ahead of the break, the hosts evened the score up at 1-1 when Ion Nicolaescu nodded home a Yarden Shua cross.
While Jerusalem may have had the momentum in the first half, it was all Barak Bachar’s squad in the second. Substitute Omer Atzily was pulled down in the box and then scored the subsequent penalty to take a 2-1 lead. Atzily continued to influence the game as two of his corner kicks led to tallies – an Abdoulaye Seck header in the 79th minute and a Rami Gershon marker to sew up the big win.
“It would have been better had we went into the half up 1-0 and not given up a goal at the end of the half, but no matter our substitutes did the job,” Bachar said. “I am happy that the players who had a chance in this game helped us win this game. We were ahead 1-0, but could have been up by more.”
Beitar coach Yossi Abukasis also reflected on the match.
“We played well for a half and an additional ten minutes but then we began making mistakes that lead to goals.”Yossi Abukasis, Beitar Jerusalem coach
“We played well for a half and an additional ten minutes but then we began making mistakes that lead to goals,” Abukasis said. “When their quality players came off the bench and into the game they were fresh and we were tired. The penalty goal really took the air out of our sails.”
At Bloomfield Stadium, meanwhile, Sektzia Ness Ziona surprised Maccabi Tel Aviv, drawing 1-1 with only nine players, as each side took a point.
Eyal Golasa opened the scoring as he nodded home an Ofir Davidzada cross in the 20th minute. Less than 10 minutes later, Ness Ziona was reduced to 10 men when Muhammed Osman was issued a red card for tangling up Dor Peretz.
Yoni Stoyanov ties score
However, despite being a man down, Yoni Stoyanov found the equalizer just before the break to knot the score up at 1-1.
Freddy Plumain was handed his second yellow card of the match late in the second half, leaving the visitors with only nine players, but the yellow-and-blue couldn’t find a way to get the ball past Yossi Ginzburg as the teams split the points.
Maccabi assistant coach Milos Veselinovic was on the sidelines for the match as head coach Vladen Ivic was suspended after receiving a red card last week, and he spoke about the disappointing draw.
“This was our worst game, the worst result and the worst moment for us. We missed many chances and I can’t say that we played poorly. We gave up the goals at a moment where we were not focused.”
“We lost a player right at the start of the game, but this was a terrific performance by the team, just like a championship,” Ness Ziona coach Nir Berkovic said. “I will have to see how we lost the two players to red cards, but no matter what, these guys played like real men that wanted this result and played that way for 90 minutes.”
Hapoel Beersheba dominated 10-man Bnei Reineh 3-0 in a lopsided affair up north in the Galilee.
Ramzi Safouri scored his first of two goals as he scored from 18 meters out directly into the right corner of the goal for a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute. Before the break Richard Boateng was sent off with a red card leaving Reineh, with only 10 players, and it paid the price just two minutes into the second half when Safouri completed his brace for a 2-0 lead.
Itay Schecter locks in win for Greens
Itay Schecter headed home the third marker in the 72nd minute to polish off the win.
“It was very important that the players came into this game as they have all of the others ready and focused just as we were for some of the higher profile games that we were recently in,” Beersheba head coach Elyaniv Barda said.
“I am very proud of the guys as we all saw that we played against a team that has been very good for quite some time,” Reineh coach Sharon Mimer began. “I told the fourth referee that every small call is going against us and he told me that a number of calls in our favor were not called as well. We worked hard, but when the referees help out it becomes too difficult for us to win.”
Ashdod SC slipped by Hapoel Tel Aviv 1-0 as Ebenezer Mamatah scored on a break in the 92nd minute to snatch the points.
“This was a game of two halves,” began Hapoel coach Slobodan Drapic. “The first half we were much better and played well but the substitutes in the second half just didn’t work. I accept the responsibility and sometimes substitutes just don’t work out, but we have another game coming up so we can’t be upset for too long.”
“You don’t understand how close the game of soccer is, as this game could have gone either way,” Ashdod coach Ran Ben Shimon said. “We weren’t good enough in the first half but at the end of the day you need to win games sometimes with character. The table is very close and this was a very important win for us as we close in on the break.”
Hapoel Hadera continued its fine play this season as it downed Maccabi Netanya 3-1 to take the three points.
Ido Levi jumped all over a juicy rebound to give Asaf Nimni’s squad an early lead while Saar Fadida doubled the advantage as he dribbled into the box and put the ball past Itamar Nitzan for a 2-0 lead in the 20th minute.
A Philip Ipole own-goal just minutes later pulled Netanya to 2-1, but Fadida completed a brace when he slotted the ball into the corner of the goal in the 29th minute to hand his side the points and the win.
Following the game head coach Benny Lam resigned and the club will be looking for a replacement over the upcoming World Cup break.
“There are good things going on here at Hapoel Hadera,” Hadera coach Asaf Nimni said. “There are times I am overcome by joy and emotions, but then I have to realize that we have a big goal in front of us and this game was yet another point that we moved past towards that goal.”
“I’m really sorry for the fans,” Netanya coach Benny Lam said. “We played well in the first half and we had many chances but they ended up scoring three goals on three shots. That’s soccer.”
Hapoel Haifa blanked Hapoel Jerusalem 1-0 as Alon Turgeman scored the lone goal of the match in the second half to give the Carmel Reds the win.
“This was my first win and the first for the team in 10 games so we are very happy,” Haifa coach Roni Levy explained. “We had lost our confidence and everything was difficult so it was very important to record this victory. Jerusalem is a very strong team that has won many games and we knew it would be a tough battle.”
Bnei Sakhnin and Ironi Kiryat Shmona drew 1-1 as the two squads split the points.
Beram Kayal gave visiting Bnei Sakhnin a 1-0 lead off a rebound in the 11th minute, but Roie Harel found the equalizer late in the game to take a point.