Beersheba batters Beitar Jerusalem at Teddy to close in on summit

Maybe the players were complacent and weren’t ready for the match.

Beitar Jerusalem's Omer Atzili leaps in celebration (photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Beitar Jerusalem's Omer Atzili leaps in celebration
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Beersheba climbed up to second place and closed within three points of league-leader Maccabi Tel Aviv on Monday night, beating Beitar Jerusalem 3-1 at Teddy Stadium.
After beating Maccabi Petah Tikva 5-2 in its previous match, Beersheba finally combined two straight wins this season, showing its massive potential by dismantling Beitar.
With Maor Buzaglo and Ben Sahar both out injured for a second straight match, Elyaniv Barda and Anthony Nwakaeme retained their places in the starting lineup and each scored a goal after both netting braces against Petah Tikva. Maor Melikson has also flourished in Beersheba’s past two matches, scoring the opener in the 17th minute on Monday after Nwakaeme’s buildup play on the left flank.
Melikson returned the favor five minutes later, leaving Nwakaeme with the simple task of slotting the ball past Jerusalem goalkeeper Boris Klayman. Melikson registered his second assist seven minutes into the second half, shaking two Beitar players before squaring the ball for Barda, who was never going to miss in front of an empty net.
Nikita Rukavytsya handed Beitar a lifeline in the 58th minute with his goal from the edge of the area, but the lackluster hosts couldn’t grab a second and it would be Beersheba which came closer to scoring the next goal of the match, with the score-line ultimately flattering the hosts.
“We came with a certain game-plan and it succeeded,” said Beersheba coach Barak Bachar. “Melikson and Barda were able to show their ability and I’m happy everything went according to plan. We won our second straight match and that is something that we hadn’t managed to do since our pre-season games. That is part of the change that we are undergoing. We will enjoy this win and rest before preparing for our next match.”
Beitar, which had won its previous two matches, remained in seventh place in the standings.
“This was our weakest performance of the season,” said Beitar coach Slobodan Drapic. “We didn’t have a defense, a midfield or an attack. We need to look into what happened and improve that until our next match.
I thought we would play better after claiming two consecutive wins.
Maybe the players were complacent and weren’t ready for the match.
Maybe they thought that they are a top team. Beersheba is a top team and if you don’t play aggressively against them they will humble you.”
Melikson was delighted with Beersheba’s win.
“We are going through a good period and we got the match off to a good start,” said Melikson. “Barak gives me the freedom to play and I’m happy that worked tonight. Beersheba brought in a lot of quality players in the summer and I believe that this season will end on a sweet note.”