Maccabi Haifa continues to climb up table

Balbul’s Greens blank Beersheba • Tel Aviv derby ends 1-1 • Beitar, K8 play to goalless draw

Hapoel Tel Aviv forward Roei Zikri is sandwiched between Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Itay Shechter (left) and Dan Glazer (right) during the teams’ 1-1 derby draw  on Monday night at the Moshava Stadium in Petah Tikva.  (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Hapoel Tel Aviv forward Roei Zikri is sandwiched between Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Itay Shechter (left) and Dan Glazer (right) during the teams’ 1-1 derby draw on Monday night at the Moshava Stadium in Petah Tikva.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Haifa continued its inspired play with a 2-0 win at Turner Stadium in Beersheba for the Greens’ fourth-straight victory under Marko Balbul in Israel Premier League action this week.
The game marked the first time since 2009 that Haifa defeated Hapoel Beersheba in the southern city as the hosts fell out of a Championship Playoff position.
After a goalless first half, Loai Taha was sent off for the Beersheba when he received his second yellow card in the 50th minute, giving Haifa a numerical advantage on the pitch. Balbul’s squad found its first goal via Neta Lavi in the 72nd minute off a long-distance scorcher, and the second tally came deep into stoppage time thanks to Shlomi Azulay to wrap up the win.
“I’m smiling and I’m happy because we played a good match and we justifiably won,” said Balbul following the contest. “We took control in the second half and we could have won by even more than just 2-0. The players deserve a lot of credit for their fight. To come and win in Beersheba against a team that won three straight championships is huge for us.”
Beersheba coach Barak Bachar lamented the loss, but added some perspective.
“The whole game was a symptom of our entire season with tons of misses. We just have to keep working hard because we do have a good club,” said Bachar.
Meanwhile, Maccabi and Hapoel drew 1-1 in the Tel Aviv Derby at the Moshava Stadium in Petah Tikva on Monday night as the Reds drew even on a late goal by Emmanuel Boateng against the 10-man yellow-and-blue to split the points.
Chico Ofoedu opened the scoring in the first half after finishing off a beautiful team effort, but Vladimir Ivic’s side was left shorthanded when Itay Shechter was issued a red card in the 79th minute due to some extracurricular pushing and shoving by both sides.
That gave Hapoel a chance to find the equalizer in the 88th minute to snatch a point against the table leader.
Also, Hapoel Haifa easily got by Maccabi Petah Tikva 4-2 at Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa as the visitors lost their third game in a row.
Playing without Manor Solomon, who was sold to Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk last week, the Petah Tikva coaching change had no effect as Morad Magmadov fell in his debut on the sidelines.
Tai Baribo gave Petah Tikva an early 1-0 lead in the fourth minute, the central defender heading home a Issa Cissokho cross to beat ’keeper Ran Kadosh. But the hosts evened up the contest 15 minutes later on an Omer Danino own-goal when Maxim Plakuschenko’s shot caromed off the defender.
Danino was again at the center of attention in the 44th minute when he missed cutting off a through-ball to Ben Azubel, who scored to give the Carmel Reds a 2-1 advantage. Radu Ginsari added Haifa’s third goal in the 48th minute and striker Matan Hozez, who just arrived on loan from Maccabi Tel Aviv, gave the hosts an insurmountable lead as Baribo pulled back a late goal for the visitors.
Hapoel Hadera defeated Bnei Sahknin 2-1 at the Netanya Stadium in Kevin Tapoka’s final game with Hadera before his transfer to Hapoel Beersheba. With only one win in its last 10 matches, Niso Avitan’s side took the three points after coming back from a one-goal deficit.
Shlomi Azulay gave the visitors a 1-0 lead in the 52nd minute, however Yarin Peretz found the equalizer when he scored from in close after a corner kick.
In the 70th minute, Mohammed Ghadir was issued a red card, leaving Sakhnin with 10 men for the balance of the match, and Hadera took full advantage as Dovev Gabbay headed home the winner.
Beitar Jerusalem and Kiryat Shmona drew 0-0 at Teddy Stadium as each side picked up a point. Ange-Freddy Plumain made his Jerusalem debut following his transfer from Hadera while Hadji Barry played his first match for the Northerners after arriving from the United States. However, neither were able to break the deadlock.
After a slow first half Yossi Benayoun, who began his second term with Nir Kilnger’s capital city side, helped change the pace giving the hosts a number of chances, but incredible saves by Dziugas Bartkus – including one off of his face – kept the scoresheet clean.
Maccabi Netanya slipped by Ashdod SC 1-0 at the Netanya Stadium as visiting coach Yuval Naim was ejected during halftime for verbally abusing the linesman.
The hosts controlled the match from the get-go and had many chances on Ashdod ’keeper Yoav Gerafi, but the shot-stopper made save after save. However, Gavriel Kanichowsky finally beat Gerafi in the 71st minute when his attempt from the left side made it past the ’keeper and into the goal for the lone marker of the contest.
Hapoel Ra’anana hosted Bnei Yehuda in a match that ended in a 0-0 goalless draw as the sides split the points. Earlier in the week, the visitors sold budding superstar Yarden Shua to Maccabi Haifa and the Bnei Yehuda faithful protested the move all match long.