Beersheba edges Ashdod, closes within one point of 1st
Ashdod remained just a single point above the relegation zone.
By ALLON SINAI
Hapoel Beersheba moved back to within a single point of Maccabi Tel Aviv and the summit of the Premier League standings on Monday night, bouncing back from last week’s loss to the yellow-and-blue with a tense 2-0 victory over Ashdod SC at Turner Stadium.Hanan Maman netted the opener in the 41st minute, finding the back of the net for the first since joining the team from Hapoel Haifa last month. Tomas Pekhart secured the three points with a stoppage-time penalty.Beersheba moved to 47 points, one back of Maccabi, which climbed to first with last week’s 1-0 victory over the two-time defending champion. Beitar Jerusalem is in third place with 46 points.Ashdod remained just a single point above the relegation zone.Monday’s contest marked the start of a run of three straight home matches for Beersheba. Barak Bachar’s team is unbeaten at home in league action since its new stadium opened over two years ago and has picked up 24 of a possible 30 points so far this season.Beersheba hosts Maccabi Petah Tikva on Saturday before welcoming Beitar Jerusalem in a crunch showdown the following weekend. The reigning champion then visits Ironi Kiryat Shmona before completing the regular season with another home encounter against Bnei Sakhnin.Earlier Monday, Hapoel Ashkelon coach Yuval Naim resigned after almost four years at the helm. Naim took over Ashkelon while it was in the third division and led it to two consecutive promotions and a return to the top flight.Ashkelon has won only one of its past 17 matches, losing its last five games to fall into the relegation zone.Naim is the 10th coach to have either resigned or been sacked in the Premier League this season. Only six of the league’s 14 teams are still being guided by the coach with whom they began the season, those include five of the top six sides in the standings (Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Beersheba, Hapoel Haifa, Maccabi Netanya and Bnei Yehuda), as well as Ironi Kiryat Shmona, which is in eighth place.