Maccabi Tel Aviv, Bnei Yehuda play to draw

Back-and-forth finish punctuates pulsating derby • Rukavytsya brace helps Mac Haifa beat Beersheba

MACCABI HAIFA and Hapoel Beersheba (in blue) battled in front of empty stands at Sammy Ofer Stadium on Sunday night, with the Greens emerging with a 3-1 home victory in Israel Premier League Round 2 action. (photo credit: MAOR ELKASLASI)
MACCABI HAIFA and Hapoel Beersheba (in blue) battled in front of empty stands at Sammy Ofer Stadium on Sunday night, with the Greens emerging with a 3-1 home victory in Israel Premier League Round 2 action.
(photo credit: MAOR ELKASLASI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv and Bnei Yehuda drew 2-2 at Bloomfield Stadium in an entertaining Little Tel Aviv derby over the weekend in Israel Premier League action.
The final 10 minutes of the game saw Maccabi come back from a 1-0 deficit and briefly take the lead on goals by Maor Kandil and Itay Shechter, but Allyson Dos Santos found the equalizer just in time to split the points.
Bnei Yehuda grabbed the opening tally in the 20th minute when Dor Jan scored against his former team thanks to a Dan Mori assist, as the hosts went up 1-0. The score stayed that way until the 80th minute when Maccabi defender Kandil took a Dan Bitton pass in the box and roofed the ball into the goal to draw even at 1-1.
Three minutes later, the yellow-and-blue took the lead when Ben Bitton found Shechter in the area as the veteran striker gave his side a 2-1 advantage. However, Dos Santos headed home a perfect corner in the 89th minute as each team took a point.
“I’m very disappointed with the results in our two games,” said Maccabi coach Giorgos Donis. “It doesn’t make sense that our opponents score this way. I’m very upset at my players. We tried to change things up in the second half, but we were very soft. We can’t give our opponents such easy chances.”
Bnei Yehuda’s coach, Elisha Levy, had a different perspective on the match.
“I thought we played well,” said Levy of his side. “We played against a very good team and we knew how to prepare properly. We were able to attack well and we had many chances to score. I’m happy we were able to come back once Maccabi had taken the lead and we deserved the point.”
Elsewhere, Maccabi Haifa dropped Hapoel Beersheba 3-1 at Sammy Ofer Stadium as Greens coach Barak Bachar defeated his former team for the first time in league play.
Nikita Rukavytsya scored his first goal of the game when he took a perfect Sun Menachem pass in the box and roofed it into Ohad Levita goal for a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute.
Itamar Shviro drew the visitors even in the 59th minute, but Rukavytsya helped Haifa regain the advantage three minutes later while Yanic Wildschut added a third goal in the 73rd minute to help the Greens to the three points and the win.
“Every win is important and the character we saw today was very important,” explained Bachar. “We came right back after we gave up a goal. I know we need to be better, more aggressive and we have to improve in each and every game.”
Beersheba coach Yossi Abukasis also spoke about the game.
“We came back once and tied up the game at 1-1, but when we gave up the second goal the air came out of our sails. We pressed and we played hard, but it wasn’t enough. Both teams are good, but we still need to get our squad playing together.”
Meanwhile, Ashdod SC blanked Hapoel Tel Aviv 2-0 as former Red Roie Gordana orchestrated the victory with a goal and an assist at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv.
The port city squad grabbed a very early lead as Gordana assisted on Sagiv Yehezkel’s strike after just 19 seconds of play when Ashdod stripped Emanuel Boateng of the ball in the midfield.
Gordana added a late insurance marker in second- half injury time when he tapped the ball into an empty goal to seal the win with Hapoel ’keeper Ernestas Setkus way out of his net.
“We scored in the first few seconds and the last few seconds and it was important to win after last week’s defeat,” said Ashdod coach Ran Ben Shimon. “We are a much better team than how we played but building character like we did today is important.”
Tel Aviv coach Nir Klinger was remorseful after his team’s defeat.
“We tried to do it all from right to left after we gave up the early goal but we were missing quality up front,” said Klinger. “We created enough opportunities to win or at least tie up the game. But we just don’t have the quality right now.”
Also, Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Hapoel Haifa played to a 1-1 draw as the squads split the points in the northern capital.
Lucio gave the hosts the lead on an elegantly placed 20th-minute penalty after a handball in the box by Raz Nachmias. However, the Nachmias made up for his mistake as he assisted on Nes Zamir’s second-half strike as each side took a point.
“We should have scored four or five goals in the first half alone,” said frustrated Kiryat Shmona coach Kobi Refuah. “A strong team needs to hold onto the lead especially after an excellent first half. The result is disappointing as we had chances, but I am concerned that we gave up a goal that we should have not allowed.”
Hapoel Haifa coach Haim Silvas also reflected on the draw.
“Our opponent was better than us and it was clear that this was the case from the first half. When we saw that we were only down 1-0, I told the players that luck was with us despite our performance and that we had to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Maccabi Petah Tikva downed Hapoel Kfar Saba 2-0 at the Moshava Stadium to win its second game in a row to start the season.
Guy Hadida scored a 15th-minute penalty to give the hosts a 1-0 lead after a Sodiq Atanda handball in the area.
Guy Luzon’s squad doubled the advantage in the second half when Mohammed Hindy sent Tai Baribo a magnificent through ball that the latter put behind a helpless Itamar Israeli as Petah Tikva took the points.
“I’m always optimistic and I told the players that we have to go into every game with the goal to win,” said Luzon following the contest. “We didn’t play as well this game and Kfar Saba deserve some credit, but we did play very well defensively.”
“We just weren’t good enough,” explained Kfar Saba coach Amir Turgeman. “We thought that it would be easy but that wasn’t the case. We needed to have more focus on the attack and we didn’t play enough on defense, it’s very disappointing.”
Late Monday night, Maccabi Netanya took on Bnei Sakhnin, while the scheduled Beitar Jerusalem-Hapoel Hadera duel in the capital was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.