Surging Beitar climbs up to fourth place

Edri, Jerusalem blank Kfar Saba • Leader Mac TA dispatches Ra’anana • Beersheba drops Netanya

HAPOEL BEERSHEBA players celebrate the club’s second goal in its 2-0 victory over Maccabi Netaya on Sunday night in Israel Premier League action (photo credit: DANNY MAROM)
HAPOEL BEERSHEBA players celebrate the club’s second goal in its 2-0 victory over Maccabi Netaya on Sunday night in Israel Premier League action
(photo credit: DANNY MAROM)
In Israel Premier League Round 9 action Beitar Jerusalem defeated Hapoel Kfar Saba 1-0 to win its first home game of the season. In fact, the victory was the capital city side’s fourth in a row as Roni Levy’s charges are clicking on all cylinders and have moved up to fourth place overall.
After a quiet first half, Beitar pushed the pace of play and finally broke the deadlock in the 86th minute as substitute Shalom Edri – a true rags-to-riches story – put home the winning strike to allow the yellow-and-black to take the three points in front of a jubilant crowd.
“I’ve been working very hard in training and I will continue to do so,” said a happy Edri following the contest. “The goal was just a bonus for me in what is a long season. I can’t tell you how excited I am, to score a goal, at home for the fans and win the game, there is nothing better than that.”
Levi had high praise for the goal scorer.
“Shalom Edri is training extremely well,” noted the Beitar coach. “He is a player who has emerged from the lowest levels of Israeli soccer and slowly but surely he has adjusted his game.”
Meanwhile, Maccabi Tel Aviv dominated Hapoel Ra’anana in a 2-0 win away at the Moshava Stadium.
Chico Ofoedu scored yet again for the yellow-and-blue as he sliced home a nice pass by midfielder Dan Glazer in the 10th minute. Yonatan Cohen, who just signed a new five-year deal this week, scored in the 74th minute to give Vladimir Ivic’s squad the 2-0 victory and another clean sheet for ‘keeper Daniel Tanenbaum.
“I’m going to take away the fact that we have now gone nine straight games without giving up a goal,” said Ivic. “We played well in the first half, but we didn’t during parts of the second and we were lucky during that time.”
Also, Hapoel Beersheba dropped struggling Maccabi Netanya 2-0 at Turner Stadium to keep pace with table-leader Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Barak Bachar’s squad took an early lead as midfielder Naor Sabag stuck the ball into the left corner of Dani Amos’s goal finishing off a terrific through ball by Hanan Maman. The southern Reds doubled their advantage in the 55th minute on a Ben Sahar penalty, which was awarded after the striker was pulled down in the box by Netanya’s Tim Heubach.
“It was important to win at home and excite the fans,” said Bachar following the victory. “The result could have been even better as we had many chances and we played quality soccer, but we still have plenty of improvements to make.”
Sabag, who opened the scoring, was very happy with his performance.
“I am working very hard to improve and I am thrilled to have scored. It was crucial for us to return to our basis of playing like a team following last week’s loss to Maccabi Tel Aviv.”
Hapoel Haifa got by Ironi Kiryat Shmona 2-1 at Sammy Ofer Stadium.
Nes Zamir was the star of the show scoring two goals for the host to collect maximum points and the win for Haim Silvas’s squad.
Almog Buzaglo fed Zamir a nice cross off a counter-attack in the ninth minute to give Haifa the 1-0 lead, while Gidi Kanuk assisted on Zamir’s second goal 25 minutes later.
Cillian Sheridan sent Omer Lakou a gorgeous through ball in the 45th minute to pull a goal back for visiting Kiryat Shmona, but the Haifa defense came up strong in the second half to pick up the win.
“It’s always great to score and help the team,” said an excited Zamir after the clash. “I’ve matured as a player on the pitch and want to continue to contribute as best as I can.”
Ashdod SC and Ness Ziona played to a thrilling 2-2 draw at the port city.
Ness Ziona had the first chance of the game, but Sabien Lilaj missed a 15th-minute penalty as Ashdod ’keeper Roie Mishpati made the key save. However, 20 minutes later Moussa Maazou headed home a Raz Stein cross to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Hamoudi Kna’an drew his side even as he put home a Shlomi Azulay corner five minutes into the second half, while Azulay also scored in the 68th minute to give his squad the one-goal advantage.
But Maazou made sure that Ness Ziona would take home a point as the Nigerian striker, who has played for CSKA Moscow and Monaco in the past, completed a brace with his second goal of the contest. 
Hapoel Hadera hosted Bnei Yehuda to a goalless draw at the Netanya Stadium as the sides split the points.
Hapoel Tel Aviv hosted Maccabi Haifa at the new Bloomfield Stadium on Monday night to finish out the Round 9 slate in a game that finished after press time.