Beersheba remains red hot with another win

Southerners make it three victories from three matches at Acre; Beitar Jerusalem beaten again.

Hapoel Beersheva victory 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Beersheva victory 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Beersheba extended its perfect start to the Premier League season on Saturday, beating Hapoel Acre 2-1 on the road for its third consecutive victory, equaling its best-ever beginning to a campaign.
The last time Beersheba began a season with three straight wins was the 1974/75 campaign, when it went on to claim its first championship.
Acre took the lead against the run of play in the 18th minute through Brazilian Juliano Spadacio, but Beersheba never lost control and got its due reward when it equalized one minute from the break thanks to a sensational free-kick from 30 meters out by Siraj Nasar, who has scored in all three of his team’s matches this season, already surpassing his output from last season.
Beersheba took the lead thanks to another stunning strike nine minutes into the second half, with Elyaniv Barda laying the ball off for Gal Erel, who found the back of the net with a superb shot from 25 meters.
Beersheba had to spend a third of the match with 10 men after Evyatar Iluz was sent off in the 59th minute, but the southerners held on for the three points to take sole possession of first place in the standings.
“It is never easy to win here and I’m happy we recorded a tough victory with 10 players,” said Beersheba’s ever-composed coach Elisha Levy, who refused to discuss his team’s chances of winning the league title. “This victory shows our strong character. But it wouldn’t be serious of me to talk about claiming the championship at this stage. We look at the standings and we are happy, but we will not talk about the championship.”
Bnei Sakhnin and the newly-promoted Hapoel Ra’anana turned an encouraging start to the season to an impressive one after claiming their second victory in three matches on Saturday, climbing up to second and third place in the table with seven points out of a possible nine.
Amir Agajev gave Bnei Yehuda a 28th-minute lead over Sakhnin at Bloomfield Stadium, but the visitors turned the match on its head within three minutes courtesy of goals from Hamad Ganayem (32) and Mohamed Kalibat (34).
A Rafi Dahan red card left Bnei Yehuda with 10 men in the 70th minute and Ravid Gazal extended Sakhnin’s cushion in the 77th minute, with Or Baruch netting a second consolation goal (79) before Ahmed Kasoum put the icing on the cake for Sakhnin in stoppage time, capping a 4-2 win.
Ra’anana coach Menahem Koretzki led his team to a sweet 3-1 triumph at Hapoel Ramat Hasharon, avenging his sacking by the latter last season.
Koretzki was one of the main reasons behind Ramat Hasharon’s excellent start to last season, but was ultimately fired after clashing with the club’s management.
He joined Ra’anana only late last season, but won all seven of his matches at the helm to lead the club to promotion to the Premier League.
Hasan Sayaf put the hosts in the driving seat with the opener (30), but Tamir Cohen leveled the score for Ra’anana on the brink of halftime before Asi Baldut (55) and Anthony Nwakaeme (68) secured all three points for the visitors.
Beitar Jerusalem dropped to its second defeat in three matches on Saturday, losing 1-0 to Hapoel Haifa in Petah Tikva, with Teddy Stadium still not ready to host games following the Maccabiah.
Lithuanian Tadas Kijanskas headed in the only goal of the match in the 24th minute, with the Beitar defense caught napping in a Haifa free kick.
Also Saturday, Ironi Kiryat Shmona beat Ashdod SC 1-0 courtesy of Ofir Mizrahi’s second minute goal.
On Sunday, Gili Vermut is expected to return to Hapoel Tel Aviv’s starting lineup when it hosts Maccabi Petah Tikva.
Hapoel has gotten off to its worst start in six years, picking up just one point from its first two matches.
On Monday, Maccabi Haifa, which lost 1-0 to AZ Alkmaar in its Europa League group opener on Thursday, welcomes Maccabi Tel Aviv, which drew 0- 0 with APOEL Nicosia in Europa action, in a showdown between the two leading title contenders.