Yellow-and-blue still hold commanding lead

Bnei Yehuda, Hadera both fall • Beersheba held to another draw • Beitar climbs out of basement.

BEITAR JERUSALEM forward Idan Vered dribbles past a pair of Hapoel Tel Aviv defenders during Beitar’s 3-0 road victory on Monday night in Premier League action (photo credit: UDI ZITIAT)
BEITAR JERUSALEM forward Idan Vered dribbles past a pair of Hapoel Tel Aviv defenders during Beitar’s 3-0 road victory on Monday night in Premier League action
(photo credit: UDI ZITIAT)
Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Bnei Yehuda 3-1 thanks to a pair of goals by striker Yonatan Cohen. The win gave the yellow-and-blue the three points and solidified its place atop the Premier League table, 11 points in front of second-place Bnei Yehuda.
Itay Shechter also scored in the first half for Maccabi while Shai Konstantin found the back of the goal for the hosts. Cohen gave Maccabi a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute thanks to an Eli Dasa assist, while Vladimir Ivic’s side doubled its advantage when Shechter took advantage of a poorly played Carlos Cuellar backpass and tapped the ball into an open goal. Konstantin cut the yellow-and-blue lead to 2-1 in the 57th minute, but Cohen’s marvelous missile into the top right hand corner of the goal in the 70th minute secured the victory.
Meanwhile, Maccabi Haifa was stunned at home by Kiryat Shmona as visiting ’keeper Dziugas Bartkus headed home the tying goal off a corner kick to draw 2-2.
The visitors took a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute when substitute Jorge Morcillo, who had come on just minutes earlier for an injured Marcus Diniz, put home a Valon Ahmedi corner kick. Sun Menchem drew the hosts even early in the second half off a corner of their own and took the lead in the 59th minute on a Shlomi Azoulay strike off a cross by Mohammed Awaed.
However, with time running out, Kiryat Shmona boss Haim Silvas sent his ’keeper into the area for a last gasp chance to tie the game as Bartkus headed the Ahmedi corner behind Green ’keeper Guy Haimov to snatch a point. Bartkus’s goal was the first by a ’keeper during the course of play since Joslain Mayebi accomplished the feat for Ahi Nazareth in 2010.
Ten-man Bnei Sakhnin scored a late penalty to draw 1-1 with Hapoel Beersheba and split the points in the southern capital. Ben Sahar drilled home a 27th-minute penalty after he has been yanked down by Sari Falah in the box to give the defending champions a 1-0 lead. It continued to look bleak for Sakhnjn when Ihab Shami picked up his second yellow card in the second half reducing the Galilee based club to 10 men.
However, a Hatem Elhamed handball in the area gave Sakhnin the opportunity to draw even via a penalty kick in the 78th minute and it did just that. Azoulay made no mistake with his spot kick from 11 meters as he drove the ball behind Ariel Harush to claim a point and leave Beersheba 14 points behind table-leading Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Beitar Jerusalem visited rival Hapoel Tel Aviv and defeated the Reds 3-0 to collect three points and move out of the league basement. Maor Bozaglo lifted a 26th minute corner kick into the box that found Miki Siroshtein, who headed the ball past Hapoel ’keeper Robi Levkovich to give Nir Klinger’s Beitar a 1-0 lead.
The yellow-and-black added an insurance marker in the 81st minute via Dan Einbinder when he put home an Idan Vered rebound off the post and ten minutes later Vered scored a goal of his own to take the 3-0 triumph back to the capital city.
Ashdod and Maccabi Petah Tikva drew 1-1 in the port city as each club took home a point. The hosts scored first thanks to a 25-meter screamer by Yuval Jakobovich as he cleanly beat ’keeper Yossi Ginzburg.
To Ashdod’s dismay, budding star Manor Solomon found the equalizer in the 68th minute as the 19-year old finally found a way to get a ball by Ashdod ’keeper Yoav Gerafi, who had stood on his head all match long.
All Maccabi Netanya needed was a third-minute goal by Fatos Beciraj to take the three points and the 1-0 win over Hapoel Hadera at the Netanya Stadium.
Beciraj unleashed a rocket from 20 meters early in the match as the lone goal of the contest stood up for Slobodan Drapic and Shay Barda’s side.
Hapoel Haifa defeated Hapoel Ra’anana 3:0 as Guy Hadida, Nes Zamir and Radu Ginsari scored for the visitors. With the win, Sharon Mimer’s squad leapfrogged Menachem Koretzky’s side on the table.