Netanya surprises Mac TA in Lam’s debut

Maccabi Haifa dominates Hapoel Jerusalem • Beersheba beats Petah Tikva to stay atop the table.

 Picture of Hapoel Beersheba vs Maccabi Petah Tikva (photo credit: Kobi Eliyahu)
Picture of Hapoel Beersheba vs Maccabi Petah Tikva
(photo credit: Kobi Eliyahu)

Maccabi Netanya walloped Maccabi Tel Aviv 4-2 over the weekend in Israel Premier League action as Benny Lam won his debut on the sidelines for the diamond city squad.

The yellow-and-blue snatched a quick 1-0 lead when Stipe Perica stuck the ball into the goal in the ninth minute, but Boris Enow drew Netanya even 25 minutes later on a set free-kick play. However, Perica took the lead right back for Tel Aviv in the 37th minute when the Croatian striker nodded the ball into the back of Dani Amos’s goal with authority off a Gabriel Kanichowsky cross.

Yaniv Mizrachi, who came on in the second half, found the equalizer for Netanya with an incredible bicycle kick in the 61st minute and then the hosts grabbed the lead thanks to Parfait Guiagon’s goal two minutes later.

Igor Zlatanovic polished off the Netanya victory with a 78th-minute penalty after Luis Hernandez had pulled the striker down in the box and earned a red card for his efforts.

Maccabi Tel Aviv will look to rebound from the loss in UEFA Conference League action on Thursday when it faces HJK Helsinki in Finland.

 Picture of Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Hapoel Jerusalem  (credit: BERNEY ARDOV) Picture of Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Hapoel Jerusalem (credit: BERNEY ARDOV)

“I dreamed and believed and you can ask the players,” said an enthusiastic Lam. “I told them that we would end the night with eight goals and the players played hard and took all of the points. I told them that we could win this game at home in front of our own fans, but I want to take this game by game and not look too far ahead.”

Tel Aviv coach Patrick van Leeuwen reflected on his side’s defeat.

“We should have finished the first half with more goals and showed quality and the second half was a disaster. It doesn’t belong to Maccabi Tel Aviv to have so many losses. But we started well with a goal. The fans have a right not to be happy with the performance and I am not happy either.”

Elsewhere, Maccabi Haifa overwhelmed Hapoel Jerusalem 4-1 thanks to a brace by 22-year-old midfielder Mahmoud Jaber to lead the Greens to the victory.

An active Jaber got to work on Haifa’s first goal when he sent a perfect through-ball to Dolev Haziza, who put it behind the capital city Reds ’keeper Adebayo Adeleye for a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute. However, 20 minutes later Jerusalem equalized on the club’s first goal of the season as Guy Hadida beat Josh Cohen from outside of the box.

Just before the stroke of halftime, Jaber gave Barak Bachar’s squad the lead when he scored off a nice Tjaron Chery pass in the box for a 2-1 advantage.

Godsway Donyoh added an insurance marker in the 67th minute when he sent a scorcher into the top right corner of the Jerusalem goal while the budding midfielder Jaber scored his second of the game to salt away the three-goal win and the three points.

On Thursday, the Greens will welcome Slavia Prague in Conference League play.

“I didn’t expect the game to be easy and maybe we could have made it easier, but I can’t complain when we won 4-1,” noted Bachar. “Jerusalem controlled the ball very well in the first half and we couldn’t find any answers, but we made a couple of changes in the second half and we created more chances.”

Bachar also commented on Jaber’s impressive play.

“From the first practice, you could see a player that was here to work and that had the quality to go with a tactical sense and played with confidence. One of the things I wanted him to do was to play more of an attacking role and that is what he did.”

Jaber was also excited about his performance.

“I’m very happy that we won and I always believed in my abilities from day one,” he said. “I’m happy that I have been able to continue to develop and every minute that I get to play I will continue to work even harder.”

Down south, Hapoel Beersheba slipped by Maccabi Petah Tikva 1-0 on a Mariano Bareiro goal just at the stroke of halftime to take the three points and remain in first place.

“We played against a very good team that is well-coached,” said Beersheba bench boss Roni Levy. “There are things we will have to work on but it’s better to do so after a victory in a tough game. We had to win and that is what we did.”

Meanwhile, second-place Hapoel Haifa downed Hapoel Nof Hagalil 3-1 as Elisha Levy’s squad captured the three points at Sammy Ofer Stadium.

Alen Ozbolt opened the scoring in the 10th minute with the Carmel Reds’ first chance of the game while Alon Turgeman doubled the advantage just ahead of halftime as he beat ’keeper Stefan Marionkovic for a 2-0 lead at the break.

Hanan Maman was sent off with his second yellow card in the 64th minute for the hosts, but that didn’t stop Liran Sardel from adding a third goal before Elad Shahaf broke the shutout during injury time.

“It’s as important for us to get back to winning and make our fans happy,” Levy said following the win. “We didn’t begin the game well, but we were more efficient than our opponents. Despite losing a player, we were still able to score and this was also very important for the club to be able to do.”

Also, Bnei Sakhnin dropped Ashdod SC 1-0 on a second-half Beram Kayal penalty at the port city after the referee called a handball in the box as the Galilee squad took the three points.

“Our first goal was to win and give us some breathing room from the relegation zone,” Sakhnin coach Sharon Mimer said. “I’m happy that we won although it wasn’t one of our best games. There are no easy games in this league.”

Up north, Hapoel Hadera blanked Ironi Kiryat Shmona 1-0 as Dia Labadibi’s second-half low liner was the lone goal of the match as Menachem Koretzky’s squad still remains unbeaten on the season, with three wins and three draws.

“This was an important win,” said Koretzky. “Whoever understands what goes on in this league knows how important it was to make sure we moved as far away from the relegation zone as possible. This was a very tough game, but we scored in the second half and I am satisfied with the win.”