Hapoel Haifa earns shock derby triumph

Maccabi Tel Aviv sneaks by last-place Hadera • Beitar Jerusalem draws 1-1 with visiting Netanya.

BEITAR JERUSALEM defender Ori Magbo (left) – who scored his side’s lone goal – vies for the ball against Maccabi Netanya in the teams’ 1-1 draw on Sunday night. (photo credit: BERNEY ARDOV)
BEITAR JERUSALEM defender Ori Magbo (left) – who scored his side’s lone goal – vies for the ball against Maccabi Netanya in the teams’ 1-1 draw on Sunday night.
(photo credit: BERNEY ARDOV)
Hapoel Haifa stunned Maccabi Haifa 2-1 thanks to an injury-time goal by Liran Sardel to take the Israel Premier League Haifa derby over the weekend.
After a scoreless first half, Nes Zamir broke the deadlock in the 69th minute as he beat Greens ’keeper Omri Glazer from 16 meters by putting a perfect ball into the left corner of the goal. However, Barak Bachar’s squad drew even in the 84th minute when Nikita Rukavytsya put home a penalty after having been pulled down in the box.
Haim Silvas’s side didn’t lay down and found the winner in the 91st minute when Zamir sent a brilliant ball to Sardel, who slammed it behind Glazer for the win.
“I can’t describe the feeling,” said an exuberant Reds coach Silvas. “We had gone through a tough period recently and we knew that we needed to win and that would get us going. I have to credit my players who really made me happy today and we were able to give this victory to the fans.”
Sardel also talked about the win.
“We knew that with a derby win we would be able to really start anew again. I believe that we are now headed in the right direction and I want to dedicate this win to the fans for whom this was so important.”
Greens’ coach Barak Bachar didn’t make any excuses.
“We didn’t deserve to win. We were soft, we didn’t press and you can’t win a derby when the other team is fighting for their lives. To come in and not be aggressive, we just weren’t going to win the game.”
Elsewhere, Maccabi Tel Aviv needed a 29th-minute own-goal by Obeida Khattab to beat Hapoel Hadera 1-0.
Dan Bitton put a perfect corner kick into the Hadera box that Khattab accidentally headed behind his own ’keeper Roni Levkovich for the lone goal of the game to hand the yellow-and-blue the three points.
“We played well for 75 minutes created chances while stopping our opponent,” said Maccabi coach Giorgos Donis. “We couldn’t translate our opportunities into goals and we need to know how to do this to finish games off in our favor.”
Meanwhile, Maccabi Netanya and Beitar Jerusalem played to a 1-1 draw as the squads split the points at Teddy Stadium.
Gabi Kanichowsky beat Beitar ’keeper Itamar Nitzan in the 15th minute as he finished off a terrific play with the help of Hen Ezra and Aviv Avraham, but Ori Magbo pounced on a ball by the Netanya goal to find the equalizer as each team took home a point.
“We didn’t deserve more than a point,” Beitar co-coach Shay Barda said following the match. “We played exactly as we had planned in the first half and we could have scored more goals, but Netanya knows us well and the result reflected the game.”
Also, Netanya bench boss Raymond Atteveld also looked back at the game.
“We began well and scored a goal but there we gave up one and we didn’t play our style of football which I am not happy about.”
In addition, Ironi Kiryat Shmona dropped Bnei Yehuda 2-0 in the Northern capital to capture the three points for Kobi Refuah’s squad.
Lucio got the hosts off to a quick start when he took a brilliant Saikou Touray through-ball and found the back of the goal before the game was even a minute old. Eugene Ansah doubled the advantage in the 17th minute as he stole the ball in the midfield and went in all alone on ’keeper Omer Niron beating him easily as Kiryat Shmona cruised to the victory.
“We played a good game,” said a satisfied Refuah. ”We pressed and attacked, and although we scored two goals we could have scored even more in the second half. I’m not going to make too much noise just yet, but we will continue to work hard and I’m happy for the guys.”
Bnei Yehuda coach Nir Berkovic was not impressed with his squad’s performance.
“We didn’t show up at all in the first half. We played a brutal defensive game but we did have some chances and we just couldn’t finish them off.”
Ashdod SC downed Hapoel Beersheba 2-0 as the port city side scored two first-half goals just five minutes apart to seal the victory.
Shlomi Azulay scored a 21st-minute free-kick while Sagiv Yehezkel added an insurance marker as he headed home a Montari Kamaheni cross to help his side take the points.
“The team gave it their all,” said content Ashdod coach Ran Ben Shimon. “I can’t remember a team that had so many chances against Hapoel Beersheba. We were very dangerous throughout and if we would have been even more accurate we would have scored a few more goals.”
Goal-scorer Yehezkel was all smiles following the clash.
“I’m happy to have scored and that I was able to help the team out. Coach keeps us focused on every single play and you can see how he lives the game on the sidelines.”
Beersheba coach Yossi Abukasis didn’t hide his disappointment following the game.
“The first half was the worst this season as we made some terrible mistakes on defense and in the middle of the field. We can’t play like this and I hope we won’t have these types of halves again.”
Bnei Sakhnin slipped by Hapoel Kfar Saba 1-0 as the visitors chalked up their first win of the season. Midfielder Sebastián Velásquez scored the winner in the 17th minute as the Colombian beat Itamar Israeli to help his squad to the three points.
“This was great and the players deserve a ton of credit,” said Sakhnin bench boss Niso Avitan. “We deserved to win and we made a number of changes this past month. We worked hard and we improved on a number of parameters. I’m happy that we won and that we didn't concede a goal.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv hosted Maccabi Petah Tikva to a 0-0 goalless draw at Bloomfield Stadium as each team picked up a point.
“We had plenty of opportunities and it’s disappointing that we didn’t score,” said a dejected Hapoel coach Nir Klinger. “This game could have ended up 4-1 but we are still improving. We had 11 balls that came into the box from the flanks, but we couldn’t finish them off.”
Petah Tikva coach Guy Luzon felt his side was more dangerous throughout the 90 minutes.
“We had plenty of great chances especially over the last 20 minutes, but I expect more from my club. I know this sounds like an excuse, but a bunch of our players are returning from injuries and aren’t 100% fit.”