Hapoel Haifa mounts comeback in Jerusalem

Beitar can’t hold on to two-goal lead, settles for draw • First-place Maccabi Haifa edges Hadera.

HAPOEL HAIFA midfielder Hanan Maman celebrates after his 82nd-minute goal – his second tally of the game – gave his team a 3-3 draw against Beitar Jerusalem (inset) on Saturday night in Premier League action at Teddy Stadium. (Danny Maron) (photo credit: DANNY MARON)
HAPOEL HAIFA midfielder Hanan Maman celebrates after his 82nd-minute goal – his second tally of the game – gave his team a 3-3 draw against Beitar Jerusalem (inset) on Saturday night in Premier League action at Teddy Stadium. (Danny Maron)
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Beitar Jerusalem and Hapoel Haifa played to a crazy 3-3 Israel Premier League draw at Teddy Stadium on Saturday evening as Hanan Maman stunned his former club with a pair of goals to give the visitors a point.
The capital city side went down 1-0 and then scored three straight times to grab a two-goal lead, but the Carmel Reds didn’t give up as Maman found two late goals in an entertaining clash.
Raz Stain opened the scoring just before the halftime break as he took a tremendous through-ball from Gal Arel to give Haifa a 1-0 lead after 45 minutes.
However, Jerusalem came out blazing in the second half as Tamir Adi drew the hosts even with an absolute stunner from 17 meters out. In the 63rd minute, Slobodan Drapic and Shay Barda’s squad doubled the advantage as Eliran Atar put his team in front while 10 minutes later substitute Yarden Shua dribbled into the box and beat ’keeper Amit Suari – who replaced an injured Ran Kadosh in the first half – to go up 3-1.
But Haim Silvas’s troops didn’t give up easily as Maman scored the first of two against his former club in the 77th minute and then sent a scorcher off the far post from distance five minutes later to see the sides split the points.
“We didn’t play well in the first half, but we were able to get back to ourselves and take a 3-1 lead,” said Beitar co-coach Shay Barda.
“Instead of scoring the fourth and fifth goals we gave up two. We have to forget about this game as we can’t give up goals like we did at the end of the game.”
Silvas also looked back on the contest, with a slightly different perspective.
“This was fun, great goals and great soccer. I have a terrific group of guys that can react to any situation.”
“The game ended in a draw, so we can’t celebrate too much,” said Haifa hero Maman. “I’m happy that I scored, but at the end of the day we didn’t win and both clubs can be disappointed with the draw. We played like men at the end and took [advantage of our] our chances and earned a point.”
Meanwhile, Maccabi Haifa slipped by Hapoel Hadera 1-0 thanks to a 49th minute goal by Tjaron Chery as he took a perfect cross into the box by Dolev Haziza to allow the Greens to snatch the three points and remain in first place.
“Our attacking game wasn’t as good as it usually is,” said winning coach Barack Bahar. “I have to give Hadera credit for closing us down.
Defensively we did what we needed to and we didn’t concede a goal. It was a difficult but sweet victory and while we could have played better the most important thing is that we won.”
Chery, who also signed a contract extension last week, spoke about the game.
“This was a really important win and this was a game that we had to win if we want to stay atop the table. I’m really happy that I’ll be staying here as well as the team has turned into a real family.”
“It doesn’t make us feel any better that we played well and lost,” said a disappointed Hadera coach, Sharon Mimer. “We played tough against a quality side and didn’t come away with a point. I’m proud of the team as to how we fought.”
Elsewhere, Hapoel Beersheba defeated struggling Maccabi Netanya 1-0 on Josue’s seventh-minute goal as Yossi Abukasis’s squad took the win and the points.
“We didn’t need to press as our defense shut down Netanya,” explained Abukssis. “If we were more intelligent we could have won 3-0, but we still won and we still need to play better as a team.”
Netanya’s coach Raymond Atteveld reflected on his team’s defeat, and called out the officiating.
“We should have been able to take a point, but once again we played against 14 players and I don’t need to explain what I mean. We can’t score, we pressed well, defended well and we have a good young squad, but we have a tough time finishing.”
Also, Hapoel Tel Aviv and Hapoel Kfar Saba drew 1-1 in a battle of the two last-place teams as they split the points in Elisha Levy’s debut as the Greens new head coach.
Osher Davida gave the Reds a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute as he took a through-ball and put it behind Itamar Israeli, but three minutes later Aviv Solomon took care of a corner kick to draw Kfar Saba even.
“We didn’t create enough opportunities to take more than a point,” said Tel Aviv coach Nir Klinger. “I do believe that we have shown
improvement, but we still need more. I understand the pressure of being in last place and my heart hurts, my soul is crying and the situation is very difficult.”
Levy also commented about his first game on the Kfar Saba sidelines.
“We have a good base, but we need to bring in some players with more experience that will help improve our situation. We earned a point which was important as we have to keep moving forward.”
The scheduled match between Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Ashdod SC was postponed due to 11 positive tests among the Ashdod players and staff, while Maccabi Petah Tikva is slated to host Maccabi Tel Aviv on Monday night to close out the Round 14 slate.
Hapoel Haifa's Hanan Maman and one of Beitar Jerusalem players