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Hapoel Beersheba midfielder Hanan Maman celebrates after winning goal over Maccabi Tel Aviv in Netanya.(Photo by: DANNY MARON)
Beersheba bounces back to beat Beitar
By JOSHUA HALICKMAN
02/19/2019
Zrihan’s double helps Southerners secure 1st victory in a month, leader Maccabi Tel Aviv blanks K8.
Hapoel Beersheba got back on the winning track by defeating Beitar Jerusalem 3-1 at Turner Stadium in the southern capital on Monday night in Israel Premier League action. Niv Zrihan bagged a brace for the hosts and Hanan Maman scored a controversial penalty to allow Beersheba to take the three points and keep its championship playoff hopes alive.

Zrihan scored his first of two tallies in the fifth minute when he took advantage of a Beitar defensive error in the box, but Freddy Plumain found the back of the goal for Beitar a 15 minutes later to draw even at 1-1.

Maor Buzaglo took out Zrihan just outside of the box in the 50th minute, but Beersheba was mistakenly awarded a spot kick by referee Alon Yefet that Maman slotted home for a 2-1 advantage. Zrihan added an insurance marker in the 64th minute with a goal-of-the-year candidate to wrap up the victory.

Elsewhere, Maccabi Tel Aviv recorded a 3-0 win over Kiryat Shmona at the Netanya Stadium, and the yellow-and-blue’s lead sits at 20 points atop the table.

Eliran Atar slotted home a brace while Dor Micha scored as well in the victory. Tel Aviv came out firing on all cylinders and took a quick 1-0 lead in the seventh minute when Micha sent a through ball to Chico Ofoedu, who in turn sent it to Atar, who beat Dziugas Bartkus.

Maccabi doubled its advantage in the 32nd minute as Ofoedu picked up his second assist of the night when his pass went off of Micha and into the goal. Vladimir Ivic’s side added its third goal in the 62nd minute when Atar teamed up with Micha with a gorgeous double pass as the former touched the ball into the goal.

“We feel good after winning as we didn’t play well the past few matches,” said Micha following the contest. “I’m happy that we got back on track right from the get go and we created some good chances and scored an early goal.”

Meanwhile, Bnei Yehuda downed Hapoel Haifa 4-2 in a goal-fest at a closed-door Moshava Stadium in a game played without fans.

Jakub Sylvestr put home a Mavis Tchibota assist for a 1-0 Bnei Yehuda lead in the 18th minute as the Slovakian striker took advantage of a mistake by defender Niso Kapilto.

The Carmel Reds evened up the score in the 32nd minute when Itzik Aziz was charged with an own-goal. However, it only took the hosts seven minutes to regain a 2-1 lead via a Shay Konstantin penalty.

The goals continued to come in the second half as Bnei Yehuda took a 3-1 advantage in the 57th minute when Sylvestr completed a brace thanks to a Matan Baltaxa through-ball, but in the 82nd minute Haifa drew to within one goal when Gal Arel scored from the penalty spot.

Bnei Yehuda’s Amit Zenati took advantage of Haifa’s all-out attack as it searched for the equalizer and scored an insurance marker to take the 4-2 victory.

Also, Maccabi Netanya easily got by Maccabi Petah Tikva 4-1 at the Moshava Stadium. The hosts took a 17th minute lead via Omer Danino, who took advantage of costly error by ’keeper Dani Amos.

But within 10 minutes Netanya came back to take a 2-1 lead on goals by Gavriel Kanichowsky and Fatos Beciraj. Yonas Malede and Beciraj added second-half markers to solidify their side’s spot in the championship playoffs, while Petah Tikva sits just one place above the relegation zone.

Also, Maccabi Haifa eased by Hapoel Hadera 3-1 at Sammy Ofer Stadium. Nikita Rukavytsya headed home the game’s first goal in the 10th minute off an Ernest Mabouka cross.

The Greens doubled their advantage before the break when Kerim Frei blasted in his first goal thanks to a Mabouka assist. Mohammad Abu Fani scored against his former club to give Haifa a 3-0 lead until Eliel Peretz pulled a late goal back for the visitors.

In a battle of cellar dwellers, Ashdod topped Bnei Sakhnin 2-1 in the port city. Sakhnin had taken a first-half lead, but a pair of second-half goals by Ashdod led to the comeback and the three points.

Shlomi Azulay scored a 40th-minute penalty for Saknin after he had been pulled down in the box to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Ashdod evened up the score in the 49th minute when Dan Bitton’s cross was headed behind Sakhnin ’keeper Muhammad Kandil by Obeida Khateb. Twenty minutes later Bitton recorded his second assist when Romain Habran scored to give the hosts the 2-1 advantage and the win.

Hapoel Ra’anana and Hapoel Tel Aviv played to a goalless draw at Ramat Gan Stadium. The result was Tel Aviv’s seventh 0-0 draw of the season and the second this campaign between the clubs.
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