Hap TA blanks Beitar Jerusalem at Teddy

Leader Maccabi Tel Aviv shuts out Ness Ziona • Rukavytsya, Maccabi Haifa handle Hadera

HAPOEL TEL AVIV celebrates after it earned a 1-0 victory in the capital on Monday night, while Beitar Jerusalem players (inset) wonder what went wrong.  (photo credit: DANY MAROM)
HAPOEL TEL AVIV celebrates after it earned a 1-0 victory in the capital on Monday night, while Beitar Jerusalem players (inset) wonder what went wrong.
(photo credit: DANY MAROM)
Hapoel Tel Aviv stunned Beitar Jerusalem 1-0 at Teddy Stadium on Monday night in Israel Premier League action as it continued to make its case for a place in the Championship Playoffs as the victory moved the Reds into fifth place.
Omri Altman scored the lone goal of the game via a ninth-minute penalty after Beitar central defender Diogo Verdasca was whistled for a dangerous play in the box on Eyad Abu Abid.
The Reds then buttoned down the hatch and defended for the balance of the contest limiting to the yellow-and- black to very few chances as Nir Klinger and Hapoel took the three points back to Tel Aviv.
“I really believe in this team and our goal is to make it into the Championship Playoffs,” said an excited Altman. “We have two more crucial games to get the job done. We played well and since Nir Klinger arrived he’s given me a lot of confidence. There is something different in the air around the club but we still have to play better football.”
Meanwhile, Maccabi Haifa beat Hapoel Hadera 1-0 on a Nikita Rukavytsya goal at Sammy Ofer Stadium.
Hadera hung tough throughout the contest despite being reduced to 10 men in the 27th minute when Dia Lababidi was handed his second yellow card and was sent off for the balance of the game.
However, Rukavytsya took a Yarden Shua ball with his back to the goal, turned and blasted the ball past a helpless Austin Ejide for his league leading 15th goal of the season to give the Greens the three points and the win.
“This was a crucial win for us on a day we didn’t play our best soccer,” said Haifa coach Marko Balbul. “After a tough week due to the loss to Beitar at Teddy Stadium, the best thing that could have happened was that we took the points and won the game.”
Elsewhere, Maccabi Tel Aviv blanked Ironi Kiryat Shmona 3-0 with all three goals coming in the final 15 minutes of the contest by three different goal scorers.
After a scoreless first 75 minutes at Bloomfield Stadium, Yonatan Cohen slammed home a fabulous 18-meter free kick to give the yellow-and-blue a 1-0 advantage. Cohen then played facilitator with a cross that Omer Atzili put behind ’keeper Gad Amos is the 83rd minute while Chico Ofoedu scored three minutes later thanks to an Atzili assist to wrap up the victory.
“It’s impossible to just play the final 15 minutes every game,” said Maccabi coach Vladimir Ivic. “It’s not easy to score, but we ended up scoring three goals and won 3-0. Nobody can say we didn’t do the maximum. If we want to be champions we have to play together and look out for each other.”
Also, Hapoel Beersheba slipped by Bnei Yehuda 1-0 at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv. The Southern side’s head coach Yossi Abuksis came back to haunt is former club and pick up the win.
The game remained goalless until the 79th minute, when Beersheba midfielder Josue lifted a free kick into the box and it went off of Bnei Yehuda defender Amir Rustum and behind Emilias Zoubas for an own-goal as the visitors took home the three points.
“We played against a very strong team that came into the game extremely well prepared,” said a relieved Abuksis. “We didn’t have many chances but we had heart as we knew how to win this game with all of our strength while not playing the best soccer. We may have controlled the pace of play for the majority of the contest but we couldn’t take advantage of that.”
Ashdod SC downed Hapoel Kfar Saba 3-1 at the Moshava Stadium. Dean David gave the port city squad a quick 1-0 lead in the second minute, while Sagiv Yehezkel doubled the advantage with an easy strike in the box in the 30th minute.
Omer Fadida pulled a goal back for the hosts in the 53rd minute, but just as the Greens were gaining momentum Sodiq Atanda was issued his second yellow card and ejected from the match in the 60th minute leaving Ofir Naim’s side with 10 men for the final 30 minutes of play.
Recently acquired winger Jimmy Marin beat Kfar Saba ’keeper Itamar Israeli in the 86th minute to wrap up the victory for Ran Ben Shimon’s team.
“This was a very important win,” explained Ben Shimon. “This was a character victory and we moved up on the table giving us some breathing room from the relegation zone. But I still want to improve this team and create an intelligent attacking team. Sometimes we attack a bit too much and I am trying to find the correct balance.”
Ness Ziona overwhelmed struggling Hapoel Ra’anana 3-0 as Raz Stain scored a brace to help secure the three points for his squad.
Stain scored his first goal of the game on a 37th-minute penalty and added his second off a rebound in the 58th minute. Sabien Lilaj finished the masterpiece as he scored the third and final goal for the hosts.
Maccabi Netanya and Hapoel Haifa played to a 0-0 draw at the Netanya Stadium as the squads split the points.