Betar battles Mac Haifa to 0-0 draw

Greens now tied with Hap TA on points, but still stuck in second place; J’lem in 12th.

Betar 311 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Betar 311
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Haifa failed to return to the top of the Premier League standings on Sunday night, drawing 0-0 with Betar Jerusalem at a rainy Teddy Stadium.
Haifa needed all three points to leapfrog Hapoel Tel Aviv back into first position, but Elisha Levy’s men created very few chances in Jerusalem and Roni Levy’s Betar held on for a moraleboosting point.
“We are never pleased with a draw,” said Haifa coach Levy, whose team has won just once in its past three contests.
“We created enough chances to finish the match, but we couldn’t win.
Betar closed us down and gave us a real tough time.”
Despite Sunday’s disappointment, Haifa will be expecting to move into first place when it hosts Bnei Sakhnin this coming Saturday, with Hapoel Tel Aviv not facing Maccabi Tel Aviv in the local derby until Sunday.
“We expect to see the team play better in the future, but we have set a good foundation,” said Betar coach Roni Levy, who was pleased with Sunday’s point after last week’s win at Hapoel Beersheba in his debut on the sideline for the yellow-and-black.
“I would like us to improve over the long term. My first goal was to settle the team and I have achieved that.
You can see how committed the players are and that pleases me. I would eventually like to see our team’s play improve and to see more creativity from the side.”
Betar hosts Bnei Yehuda in an important bottom-half-of-the-table encounter on Saturday.
Haifa controlled the possession at the start of Sunday’s match, but Roni Levy’s men completely neutralized the visitors and Ariel Harush’s goal was rarely threatened.
The first real chance of the match only arrived five minutes before the break, and it was Betar which reached it.
Moshe Mishaelof’s through ball left Hen Azriel with only goalkeeper Nir Davidovich to beat, but the young Jerusalem striker was unlucky to have his powerful effort kept out by an instinctive save from Haifa’s stopper.
Scoring opportunities were at a premium in the second half as well, but Haifa had its chances to leave the capital with all three points.
Five minutes from time, substitute Idan Vered crossed the ball from the right and Eyal Golasa’s header was centimeters away from going in, hitting the underside of the crossbar.
In the 90th minute, goalkeeper Harush ensured the hosts ended the match with a point, keeping out Vladimir Dvalishvili’s effort from five meters out with his right foot.