Top three spots still clogged as Beitar, Beersheba draw

The three-headed battle for the championship could hardly be tighter.

Beitar Jerusalem’s Itay Shechter. (photo credit: ERAN LUF)
Beitar Jerusalem’s Itay Shechter.
(photo credit: ERAN LUF)
Just one point separates the top three in the Premier League standings after Hapoel Beersheba and Beitar Jerusalem drew 1-1 at Turner Stadium on Sunday night, meaning Maccabi Tel Aviv remains in first place.
The three-headed battle for the championship could hardly be tighter, with Maccabi and Beersheba tied on 51 points with a plus-22 goal difference, but Tel Aviv having the edge by virtue of scoring more goals.
Beitar is one point back.
The 1-1 draw meant the two most impressive streaks in Israeli soccer were extended on Sunday. Beersheba has still never lost a league match at Turner, a record run of 47 matches stretching back to the opening of the venue early in the 2014/15 campaign.
Beitar’s streak isn’t as long, but is still outstanding, with the team scoring at least one goal in 30 consecutive league matches.
Beitar hit the woodwork twice in the first half, but it was Beersheba which held a deserved one-goal lead at the break. In-form Hanan Maman scored the opener in the 31st minute, with the 28-year-old midfielder, who joined from Hapoel Haifa in the January transfer window, netting his fourth goal in the past three matches after tucking in from close range.
Beitar’s Brazilian midfielder Claudemir thought he had equalized on the brink of halftime, but his free kick from a very tight angle hit the post and ricocheted off goalkeeper Guy Haimov.
Anthony Nawkaeme should have doubled Beersheba’s advantage six minutes into the second half, but he blasted the ball straight at Boris Kleyman with only the ‘keeper to beat.
Beersheba would live to rue the miss, with Jakub Sylvestr netting the equalizer in the 60th minute. Itay Shechter did all the hard work in the build-up and left the Slovakian striker with an easy finish.
Beitar was the closer of the two teams to score a second goal, but Beersheba held on, although Maccabi Tel Aviv was arguably the happiest team on Sunday after both its title rivals dropped points.