Beersheba back into sole possession of 1st

Mac TA hosts Ashkelon tonight • K8 blanks Hapoel Haifa • Ashdod draws Maccabi Haifa

Hapoel Beersheba players celebrate after Ben Sahar (third from left) netted the winner in a 1-0 victory at Hapoel Acre. (photo credit: MAOR ELKASLASI)
Hapoel Beersheba players celebrate after Ben Sahar (third from left) netted the winner in a 1-0 victory at Hapoel Acre.
(photo credit: MAOR ELKASLASI)
Hapoel Beersheba had to dig deep to return to winning ways on Saturday night, edging rock-bottom Hapoel Acre 1-0 on the road.
Ben Sahar scored the only goal of the match from the penalty spot in the 54th minute. Maharan Radi missed a spot kick for the visitors in stoppage time and Beersheba needed goalkeeper Guy Haimov to come up with a clutchsave moments later to secure the three points.
Beersheba, which had drawn its previous two matches, opened a three point gap over Maccabi Tel Aviv. The yellow-and-blue can move back tied on points with a sixth straight win when it hosts Hapoel Ashkelon on Sunday.
“We knew this would be a tough match against a team that is fighting for its life,” said Beersheba coach Barak Bachar, with Acre losing for the eighth time in its past nine matches in what was its first game since the resignation of coach Eldad Shavit.
“We started the match well and also got the second half off to a good start and we deserved our win.”
Sahar was delighted with the three points despite the mediocre display.
“We are making life difficult for ourselves this season,” the striker said. “We got off to a good start but didn’t convert our chances and that is something that has hampered us so far this season. But even when this happens it is important to find a way to win and we did that.”
Hapoel Haifa continued to lose ground on Saturday, dropping to a surprise 2-0 loss at home to Ironi Kiryat Shmona. Ahmed Abed gave the visitors the lead in the 56th minute and San Menahem clinched the three points deep into stoppage time after Haifa lost Gabriel Tamas to a late red card.
“This is the first time this season that I can say that we deserved to lose,” said Haifa coach Nir Klinger, whose team has won just two of its last seven games.
Kiryat Shmona moved up to seventh place after snapping a five-match winless streak.
Elsewhere, Hapoel Ra’anana and Bnei Yehuda drew 1-1. Almog Buzaglo gave the in-form Bnei Yehuda a fourth-minute lead, with Shimon Abuhazira equalizing from the penalty spot 10 minutes later.
Also Saturday, Ashdod SC and Maccabi Haifa drew 0-0.
Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Jordi Cruyff insisted his side will not underestimate Ashkelon, which is just three points off the relegation zone. Maccabi has bitter memories from its first meeting of the season against Ashkelon, squandering a two-goal lead and missing a stoppage- time penalty to draw 2-2 back on October 1. Ashkelon has won only one of 12 matches since, losing last week to fellow-struggler Hapoel Ra’anana.
“We for sure remember, it was a very unpleasant loss of points,” said Cruyff of his team’s first encounter with Ashkelon.
“For 60 minutes we controlled the game and then tiredness set in. Ashkelon scored two goals in three minutes and we missed a 90th-minute penalty.
They don’t concede a lot goals and they are difficult to beat. They are always very well organized and have a very good coach. It’s one of the toughest matches.”
On Monday, Beitar Jerusalem, which is four points behind Beersheba, welcomes Bnei Sakhnin.