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Hapoel Beersheba striker Ben Sahar (right) celebrates with Maor Buzaglo.(Photo by: DANNY MARON)
Beersheba strengthens holds on first place
Reigning champion thrashes Hapoel Haifa 5-1 for sixth-straight victory, opening six-point lead at the top.
Hapoel Beersheba increased its gap at the summit of the Premier League standings to six points with yet another rampant performance on Saturday night, beating Hapoel Haifa 5-1 at Turner Stadium.

Beersheba registered its sixth straight league victory, outscoring its opponents 22-2 over the winning streak which began almost two months ago.

Michael Ohana gave Beersheba the lead after less than three minutes, but Hanan Maman stunned the local fans at Turner with his equalizer from a free kick in the 30th minute. The hosts regained the lead one minute before the halftime break courtesy of Ben Sahar’s penalty, his sixth goal in the team’s last four matches. The second half was a procession, with Anthony Nwakaeme (57), Maharan Radi (65) and Mohammad Ghadir (85) scoring for Beersheba.

Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Petah Tikva are both six points back of Beersheba, with Maccabi Tel Aviv having the chance to close within five points of first place with a win over Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Sunday.

Maccabi Haifa moved up to second place for at least 24 hours on Saturday, beating Hapoel Kfar Saba 2-0 thanks to two goals in five minutes. Haifa was in cruise control after Eliran Atar (16) and San Menahem (20) scored early in the match, with the Greens keeping their fifth consecutive clean sheet.

“I think it was a really good all-around performance,” said Haifa coach Rene Meulensteen. “This was a good result and shows that we are still making steps forward.

It’s good that we are in second place but we are only in November so that isn’t really relevant.”

Haifa climbed above Maccabi Petah Tikva thanks to its superior goal difference after the latter could only manage a 1-1 draw against rock-bottom Hapoel Ashkelon. Pedro Galvan (14) gave Ashkelon the lead, with Petah Tikva equalizing through Mihai Roman (25).

After going winless in its first eight matches of the season, Ashdod SC registered its second straight victory on Saturday, beating Bnei Sakhnin 1-0 on the road courtesy of Bentzi Moshel’s fifth-minute winner.

On Sunday, Maccabi Tel Aviv can return to second place with a win in Kiryat Shmona.

Maccabi hasn’t scored in three league matches, picking up only one point from the games against Maccabi Haifa, Beersheba and Petah Tikva.

“We have plenty of players who can score and lead the way, plus we have a very good dressing room, but all you want to do is complain about this or that striker,” said Maccabi midfielder Yossi Benayoun.

“We had plenty of chances against Haifa and Beersheba. There are times when you attempt chances from 30-meters out and they go in and then there are times when you have easy opportunities and they don’t. We will continue to play well, move the ball around and get our chances.

I’m sure that on Sunday the ball will go in and the pressure that has been surrounding this issue will be released.”

Also Sunday, Hapoel Ra’anana hosts Bnei Yehuda, with Beitar Jerusalem welcoming Hapoel Tel Aviv on Monday night.
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