Ashdod strikes early to top Betar 2-1, remain perfect

No one will be entering Matchday 3 under more pressure than Maccabi Haifa, set to visit Hapoel Beersheba.

ASHDOD SC (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Ashdod SC continued its perfect start to the Premier League season on Thursday night, defeating Betar Jerusalem 2-1.
The hosts effectively clinched the win within three first half minutes, with David Revivo’s free kick from 30 meters out catching Betar goalkeeper Ariel Harush off guard in the 18th minute before Dimitar Makriev slotted in the team’s second less than three minutes later.
Eran Levy’s penalty in the 75th minute gave Betar some hope, but Ashdod held on to register its best ever start to a season.
The six remaining games of Matchday 3 will all be played on Saturday, with no encounters taking place on Sunday or Monday due to Rosh Hashana.
No one will be entering Saturday under more pressure than Maccabi Haifa, which visits Hapoel Beersheba and former coach Elisha Levy.
The Greens were many experts’ pick to win the championship this season, but Reuven Atar’s tenure at the helm couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start, with the Greens losing 3-1 to champion Ironi Kiryat Shmona in their last match two weeks ago after falling 2-1 at Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Haifa’s defense has been shockingly vulnerable so far, but it took a big step to settling its back four with the signing of Dekel Keinan, who returns to Kiryat Eliezer after two unsuccessful years in England where he made little impression at Blackpool, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace and Bristol City.
Atar also brought in defensive midfielder Joel Damahou from Bnei Sakhnin and will be hoping the Ivorian can make an immediate impact.
Levy joined Beersheba after four seasons at Haifa in which he guided the side to two championships, and will be crossing his fingers his new team can kickstart its campaign with a win on Saturday after two draws to start the season.
“This is not just another match for me,” Levy said.
“I had four wonderful years at Haifa and it will be exciting to meet them.
“Haifa will come with added motivation after losing its first two matches, but we are also showing steady improvement and I hope we can take the points.”
Three more teams will be looking to follow in Ashdod’s footsteps on Saturday and claim a third straight win.
Champion Kiryat Shmona will be looking to make it nine points out of nine when it hosts Maccabi Netanya, while Gili Vermut is set to make his return for Hapoel Tel Aviv when it welcomes Bnei Yehuda to Bloomfield Stadium.
Maccabi Tel Aviv faces the toughest match of the three when it visits Hapoel Haifa at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.