Beersheba makes it eight straight wins

Premier League leader survives nervy finish to beat Kfar Saba 2-1 and move five points clear

Hapoel Beersheba midfielder John Ogu celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal in last night’s 2-1 win at Hapoel Kfar Saba. (photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Beersheba midfielder John Ogu celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal in last night’s 2-1 win at Hapoel Kfar Saba.
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Beersheba extended its Premier League unbeaten streak to 20 matches by claiming a club record eighth straight win on Sunday, beating Hapoel Kfar Saba 2-1 on the road to reestablish a five-point gap over Maccabi Tel Aviv at the top of the standings.
Beersheba registered its 18th win from the past 20 matches after coming from behind to beat Kfar Saba and former assistant coach Sharon Mimer.
Omer Fadida gave the hosts the lead after 24 minutes, but Anthony Nwakaeme (31) and John Ogu (43) put Beersheba in front before the break and the visitors survived a nervy finish to claim all three points.
“It isn’t easy to come back from behind against a team like Kfar Saba and we registered a really important win,” said Beersheba coach Barak Bachar. “Our goal is to remain in first place until the end of the season. Everyone is going to have a tough time in the championship playoffs, but we will take one match at a time.”
Sunday’s result also means that the field for the championship playoffs is officially set ahead of the final weekend of the regular season. Kfar Saba would have still had a mathematical chance of finishing in the top six had it won, but its defeat means that Maccabi Haifa and Bnei Sakhnin joins Beersheba, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Beitar Jerusalem and Hapoel Ra’anana in the playoffs.
Kfar Saba coach Mimer, who left his role as an assistant coach at Beersheba to join the Sharon side at the start of January, said ahead of the match that the ideal scenario for him would be to avoid relegation with his new team and for his old club to claim the championship.
However, Kfar Saba certainly didn’t make life easy for Beersheba on Sunday, taking the lead in the 24th minute following a great team move which included two back-heels before Fadida slotted in the opener.
Kfar Saba’s lead lasted just seven minutes though, with the visitors equalizing through a Nwakaeme header. Beersheba moved in front two minutes before halftime, with Ogu heading in Maor Buzaglo’s cross from the left.
Beersheba should have secured the win long before the final whistle, with Ben Sahar somehow missing the ball from three meters out in the 76th minute, a minute before Nwakaeme hit the post.
That meant a tight finish would ensue, but Beersheba held on for another win to maintain its hold on first place.
On Monday, Hapoel Tel Aviv visits Hapoel Acre in a crucial showdown in the battle against relegation. Acre, which won two straight matches before losing to Beitar Jerusalem last week, dropped into the relegation zone on Saturday, being leapfrogged by Hapoel Haifa by virtue of the latter’s superior goal difference.
Tel Aviv is just one point further in front.
Tel Aviv looks to extend its unbeaten streak to four matches, tying its longest run this season, hoping to build on the recent improvement shown under the guidance of coach Eli Gutman.