Beersheba upsets Mac Haifa in feisty affair

Maccabi Tel Aviv blanks Hapoel Jerusalem • Hap TA, Nof Hagalil draw • Beitar held at home by K8

 Picture of Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Hapoel Jerusalem  (photo credit: BERNEY ARDOV)
Picture of Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Hapoel Jerusalem
(photo credit: BERNEY ARDOV)

Hapoel Beersheba beat Maccabi Haifa 2-1 in absolutely stunning fashion on Sunday night in Israel Premier League action as the referee issued three red cards along with three penalties in one of the most memorable games this season.

The Greens took it right to the Southern Reds from the get-go as they dominated play early and scored via a Dolev Haziza penalty kick after Omer Atzili had been pulled down in the box.

Things went from bad to worse for Roni Levy’s team when Roie Gordana was sent off for a reckless tackle in the 19th minute and ’keeper Ariel Harush injured his shoulder and had to leave the game.

However, Beersheba made substitutes to compensate and Barak Bachar’s side couldn’t take advantage of the extra man.

In the 83rd minute, Atzili cleared the ball from the Haifa goal line with his hand and was sent off as Eyad Avi Abid scored from the spit to draw even at 1-1. Ten minutes later, and into injury time, Itay Shechter was yanked down from behind by Ofri Arad, who was handed a red card as Abu Abid once again stepped up to the penalty spot and gave Beersheba the victory.

“This was a very tough game that didn’t begin well with the penalty and red card,” said winning coach Roni Levy. ”But the players gave their heart and soul and together with the fans we were able to make this incredible comeback.”

Bachar also reflected on the squandered opportunity by his side.

 HAPOEL BEERSHEBA teammates celebrate after scoring their second tally in Saturday night's 2-0 home victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv in Premier League action down south. (credit: DANNY MARON) HAPOEL BEERSHEBA teammates celebrate after scoring their second tally in Saturday night's 2-0 home victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv in Premier League action down south. (credit: DANNY MARON)

“The game was in our hands and then we made some mistakes,” said the Haifa coach following the contest. “We had to push to get a second goal and we shouldn’t have allowed these crazy situations to occur, but they did.”

At Bloomfield Stadium, Maccabi Tel Aviv just got by Hapoel Jerusalem 1-0 as the yellow-and-blue needed an 85th-minute goal from Eduardo Guerrero to break the scoreless deadlock and give the hosts the points.

The capital city Reds remained goalless, yet to find the back of the goal after five games this campaign.

“We have to be ready and stay calm for these types of games,” said Maccabi coach Patrick van Leeuwen. “We need to make sure that we make the right decisions early on as teams like Jerusalem come to defend and not give up a goal. We have to score first and score as soon as possible.”

Jerusalem bench boss Ziv Arie commented on his team’s lack of scoring.

“We battled and played well defensively, but we weren’t able to control the ball. We came close to a draw but we gave up a goal after a corner. We haven’t created enough chances in any of our games, but we will keep working hard until we score and everyone can stop talking about it.”

Elsewhere, Hapoel Tel Aviv and Hapoel Nof Hagalil played to a wild 2-2 draw up north to open the weekend as a 95th-minute own-goal by the Galilee host allowed Tel Aviv to split the points.

Luwagga Kizito opened the scoring for Nof Hagalil as he took a Kevaughn Frater through-ball and beat Reds ’keeper Ernestas Setkus to take a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute.

Tel Aviv was reduced to 10 men 15 minutes into the second half when Shay Elias was sent off with his second yellow card of the game, but that didn’t stop Osher Davida from scoring the equalizer in the 82nd minute.

Dan Einbinder then gave the Reds a 2-1 lead via an 89th-minute penalty, but deep into injury time Stav Nachmani’s attempt caromed off of the post and went off of Setkus and into the goal for a deserved draw.

“We’re a bit disappointed with how the game ended and we gave up an unlucky goal,” Tel Aviv assistant coach Saleem Tuama said. “It’s too bad the ball went off the post and in but that’s soccer.”

Also, Maccabi Petah Tikva blanked table leader Hapoel Haifa 2-0 thanks to a pair of second-half goals at the Moshava Stadium.

Yarden Cohen broke the deadlock with a 72nd-minute goal while five minutes later Daniel Shimon added an insurance goal as Guy Luzon’s squad took the points.

“Our first win of the season is the most important one for us,” exclaimed Luzon. “We controlled the pace of play and moved the ball well while Haifa were only able to go on counter-attacks. Without a shadow of a doubt, we dominated.”

In the nation’s capital,  Beitar Jerusalem and Ironi Kiryat Shmona played to a dramatic 1-1 draw at Teddy Stadium as each squad picked up a point.

After a goalless first half, Niv Zrihen and Yarden Shua teamed up on a slick give-and-go in the box as the former was just able to get a foot on the ball and slip it by Dziugas Bartkus in the 63rd minute.

But just as it looked as if Beitar had salted away the victory, a handball in the area by David Houja in stoppage time gave the northerners a penalty, which Eyad Habshi promptly slotted behind Itamar Nitzan as the teams split the points.

“I believe we played well,” said Beitar coach Erwin Koeman. “In the second half we had chances to score, but at the end of the day we can all see the final result and that we gave up the tying goal from a penalty. If you win 1-0 everyone is happy, but when you give up a goal in the 90th minute everyone is upset. That’s our world.”

Meanwhile, Maccabi Netanya downed Bnei Sakhnin 3-1 as the diamond city squad won its first contest of the season up in the Galilee.

The visitors, who had parted ways earlier in the week with coach Raymond Atteveld, came out flying and scored a pair of quick goals as Parfait Guiagon – on loan from Maccabi Tel Aviv – scored from 18 meters out and Zlatan Sehovic added a second goal just three minutes later to grab a 2-0 lead by the 11th minute.

Guy Melamed pulled a goal back for the hosts 10 minutes later, but Sakhnin couldn’t find the equalizer as Igor Zlatanovic scored in second-half injury time to secure the win.

Hapoel Hadera remained unbeaten as it took out Ashdod SC 2-1 by the Port City.

Mohamed Ghadir and Matheusinho traded goals in the first half, but it was Dia Lababidi who found the winner in the 64th minute as he sent a scorcher into the Ashdod goal from 17 meters out to hand Menachem Koretzky’s squad the win.

“This was a tough away game,” said Koretzky. “The players put on a good performance in terms as to how they battled, their desire and how they finished their scoring chances. We are very happy but we have to remain modest as this is just the start of the season.”

Ashdod coach Ran Ben Shimon saw things from a different perspective.

“There’s no question that we were the better team and that has been the case in most of our games this season,” Ben Shimon explained. “Their goals came on our turnovers and we shouldn’t have erred the way we did. Gifts like counterattacks and set pieces are the only way to score against us.”