Beersheba, Beitar draw, Mac TA, Mac Haifa triumph

Yellow-and-blue one win away from clinching championship heading into weekend derby • Relegation battle still going strong

JUST UNDER two years after becoming Israel's National Team coach, Austrian Andy Herzog has decided to step down from the position to pursue new opportunities.  (photo credit: REUTERS)
JUST UNDER two years after becoming Israel's National Team coach, Austrian Andy Herzog has decided to step down from the position to pursue new opportunities.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hapoel Beersheba and Beitar Jerusalem dueled to an entertaining Premier League 2-2 draw this week in a game that provided plenty of back-and-forth action and a goal deep into injury time off a set-piece by the southern squad’s captain Miguel Vitor.
Visiting Beitar opened the scoring as Hanan Maman sent a brilliant strike from the top left hand corner of the box into the top right hand corner of the goal by Beersheba ’keeper Ernestas Setkus for a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute. Minutes later, Beersheba coach Yossi Abuksis was shown a red card and was ejected when he argued a call by the referee adding to the intensity of the contest.
The red card energized the Southern Reds as Tomer Yosefi sent a strong header behind Itamar Nitzan to pull even at the stroke of halftime. However, Roni Levy’s team regained the lead in the 67th minute as striker Shlomi Azulay tapped in a Liron Rotman assist. But just as it looked like Beitar would capture its first Championship Playoff win, Elton Acolaste, who earlier in the day signed a new four-year contract with Beersheba, sent a pinpoint perfect corner kick into the area that Reds captain Miguel Vitor heeded home to split the points.
“I’m satisfied with the way we played,” said Abukasis following the match. “But I’m not content with the result. In previous games we had some players who played well and some that didn’t. In this game we put it together as many players did a good job. It’s not easy to play three games in a week and we are also thinking about the upcoming State Cup Final as well.”
Beitar Coach Roni Levy also reflected on the result.
“We had a good game and in general the guys did a good job both tactically and offensively. We scored some nice goals and the players deserve the compliments. We will continue to work hard and battle to the end in order to secure a European position.”
Elsewhere, Maccabi Tel Aviv whitewashed Hapoel Haifa 3-0 as the yellow-and-blue took the three points in a dominant performance and will look to wrap up the league championship on Saturday night against Hapoel Tel Aviv in the second derby in a week.
“I hope we can win the title next,” stated Maccabi coach Vladimir Ivic. “It’s still not official, but I hope that we can take one more point next game. Until it’s official we can’t celebrate.”
Tenenbaum also spoke about the game and his career to date.
“We played a good game but right now our focus is on our next game. I want to go as far as I can and continue to accomplish my goals. I’ll keep training hard and I have dreams. I always wanted to be a first choice ’keeper and advance in my career.”
Also, Maccabi Haifa drilled struggling Hapoel Tel Aviv 3-1 at Bloomfield Stadium. Sintayehu Sallallich got the show rolling early as he scored in the third minute while Tjaron Chery gave the Greens a 2-0 lead in the 43rd minute.
In the second half, Mohammed Awaed found the back of the goal for Marko Balbul’s squad, but Denny Gruper pulled one back for the Reds off a missed Omer Damari penalty to ruin Josh Cohen’s clean sheet.
Meanwhile, Maccabi Netanya downed Hapoel Raanana 4-2 as Guy Melamed scored a brace to lead the diamond city squad while Golan Beni scored his second goal in as many games for Ra’anana, which will be playing in the Leumit League next season.
Hapoel Kfar Saba slipped by Ashdod 3-2 as Aviv Solomon, Omer Fadida and Luwagga Kizito while Montari Kamaheni ans Shlomi Azulay answered for the port side in the loss.
Hapoel Hadera downed Kiryat Shmona 3-0 on goals by Mohamed Abu Fani, Eliel Peretz and Roie Zikri.
Ness Ziona and Beni Yehuda played to a dry goalless draw to split the points as Ness Ziona remained in 13th place and the relegation zone, but level on points with 12th-place Kiryat Shmona.
Herzog done with national team
Meanwhile, Andi Herzog, stepped down as head coach of the Israel National Team to pursue other opportunities.
The Austrian began his term with the blue-and-white in August 2018 and compiled a record of six wins, two draws and eight losses. His time in charge was met with mixed reviews, with a number of quality victories, including a 4-2 win over Austria. However, he was unable to guide the squad directly to the UEFA European Championships.
Israel still has hope to reach the tournament through the qualifying playoffs and will visit Scotland with a new coach in October with the winner going on to face either Serbia or Norway.
Joshua Halickman, the Sports Rabbi, covers Israeli sports and organizes Israel sports adventures for tourists and residents ( Follow the Sports Rabbi on Twitter @thesportsrabbi or feel free to contact the Sports Rabbi at