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Ran Ben Shimon 311.(Photo by: Adi Avishai)
First-place K8 held by Hap BS; Ivanir turns Betar down
By ALLON SINAI
02/13/2012
Kiryat Shmona was hoping to reestablish a 12-point gap over Hapoel Tel Aviv, but Siraj Naser headed in Beersheba’s equalizer in the 79th minute.
Ironi Kiryat Shmona extended its Premier League unbeaten streak to 23 matches on Sunday night, but it dropped two important points in the title race after being held to a 1-1 draw at home by Hapoel Beersheba.

Kiryat Shmona was hoping to reestablish a 12-point gap over second-placed Hapoel Tel Aviv, but Siraj Naser headed in Beersheba’s equalizer in the 79th minute, the first goal the northerners have conceded at home in over three months.

Shimon Abu Hazeira gave the hosts the lead five minutes from the break, but Kiryat Shmona never really got out of second gear on Sunday and can have no complaints at being pegged back by the struggling Beersheba.

“We didn’t show the right energy tonight,” said Kiryat Shmona coach Ran Ben-Shimon, whose team had won its previous seven home games without conceding a goal.

“We played a poor match, but that happens. We will continue to work and we will bounce back.”

In other Israeli soccer news, Betar Jerusalem’s search for a new coach suffered a setback on Sunday after Moti Ivanir turned down chairman Itzik Kornfein’s offer to guide the team.

Ivanir, who was sacked by Maccabi Tel Aviv just over two months ago, met with Kornfein on Sunday, but eventually decided against joining Betar.

The new favorite to take charge of Jerusalem is Eli Cohen, who guided Betar to the championship in the 1996/97 season and saved it from relegation in 2002/03.

Cohen hasn’t coached in almost three years since spending five months at Kiryat Shmona during the 2008/09 campaign at the end of which the club was eventually relegated to the National League.

Maccabi Haifa hosts Maccabi Petah Tikva on Monday.

On TV: Maccabi Haifa vs Maccabi Petah Tikva (live on Sport 1 at 7:45 p.m.)
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