Beersheba goes top; back to winning ways

After a goalless first half, Buzaglo’s sweetly struck volley gave Beersheba lead four minutes into the second half.

ASHDOD SC’S Yero Bello soccerTimor Avitan  370 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
ASHDOD SC’S Yero Bello soccerTimor Avitan 370
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Beersheba kept the pressure on Maccabi Tel Aviv on Saturday night, leapfrogging the yellow-andblue to the top of the Premier League standings with a 3-0 win over Maccabi Petah Tikva at Vasermil Stadium.
Beersheba could only manage a 0-0 draw against Hapoel Ramat Hasharon last week, but it bounced back to record its third victory in four matches on Saturday to climb up to first place, at least until Maccabi Tel Aviv hosts Hapoel Ra’anana at Bloomfield Stadium on Monday.
After a goalless first half, Maor Buzaglo’s sweetly struck volley gave Beersheba the lead four minutes into the second half before Siraj Nasar (77) and Tomer Swisa (80) wrapped up the three points against Petah Tikva, which was guided for the first time by Yitav Luzon, the son of Israel Football Association chairman Avi Luzon, who replaced Moshe Sinai last week.
“I enjoyed the match and I’m delighted we completed the job clinically,” said Beersheba coach Elisha Levy, who once more refused to comment on his team’s title hopes.
“Our goal is to finish the regular season among the top six and qualify for the championship playoffs and only then will we reassess our goals.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv could find itself 10 points from the top should Maccabi Tel Aviv win on Monday after being held to a 2-2 draw at Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Saturday.
All of Saturday’s matches began with a round of applause in honor of legendary singer Arik Einstein, with Hapoel also commemorating its most famous fan by printing his name across the front of its shirts.
Hapoel failed to win for a third consecutive match, despite scoring two goals in each of those games.
Omer Damari gave Hapoel the lead in the 16th minute, but Ahmed Abed (30) equalized with a free kick from 20 meters out before Tamir Kahlon (62) put the hosts in front from the penalty spot.
Israel Zaguri’s solo effort in the 66th minute at least ensured Hapoel didn’t return home empty handed, but the Reds yet again failed to claim all three points to the frustration of coach Ran Ben-Shimon, who faced Kiryat Shmona for the first time since leading the club to the championship in the 2011/12 season.
Beitar Jerusalem’s struggles continued on Saturday with a 1-0 loss at Ashdod SC. Yaro Bello scored the winner after less than three minutes, handing Beitar its third straight defeat.
Bnei Yehuda dropped to the bottom of the standings on Saturday after being leapfrogged by Hapoel Ramat Hasharon following a 1-0 defeat to the previous basement boys.
Emir Hadzic netted the only goal of the match in the 48th minute, finally giving Ramat Hasharon its first victory of the season and extending Bnei Yehuda’s winless streak to 10 games. Dror Kashtan, the most decorated coach in local soccer history, revealed after the match that his offer to resign was turned down last week, but Bnei Yehuda may well have a different coach by the time it faces Maccabi Haifa next week.
Bnei Sakhnin moved up to third place on Saturday, beating Hapoel Haifa 2-0 at Doha Stadium.
Haifa was left with 10 men after Yossi Dora was sent off in the 56th minute and Hamad Ganayem scored from the subsequent free kick before Mohammad Ghadir (61) doubled the advantage.
On Monday, Maccabi Haifa hosts Hapoel Acre.