Betar held in check by Bnei Yehuda

Sunday's 2-2 draw may prove costly if Betar fails to finish second and qualify for the European competition next year.

betar jerusalem 298.88 (photo credit:
betar jerusalem 298.88
(photo credit:
Betar Jerusalem's poor home form continued Sunday night when the yellow and black could only manage a 2-2 draw with Bnei Yehuda at Teddy Stadium. Betar has won only four of its 11 matches at home this season, and the lost points may well prove costly at the end of the campaign if the team fails to finish in second place and qualify for European competition next year. Jerusalem came from behind twice and almost snatched the win when Jerome Leroy was denied by a fantastic save by Bnei Yehuda 'keeper Vincent Enyeama. Bnei Yehuda more than deserved a draw and Enyeama's save prevented an injustice. Betar and Bnei Yehuda maintained their league positions - third and fourth, respectively - with Betar two points behind Hapoel Tel Aviv and Bnei Yehuda two points behind Betar. Both teams were sluggish at the start of the match, but in the 16th minute the game burst into life when Bnei Yehuda midfielder Reuven Oved scored a fantastic goal. Striker Asi Baldot redirected the ball with his chest to Oved, who bounced it on his thigh before hitting an unstoppable left foot shot past 'keeper Itzik Kornfein. Oved's talent has never been in doubt, but his temperament has always seemed to have prevented him from fulfilling his potential. Under the guidance of Bnei Yehuda coach Nitzan Shirazi, Oved has finally overcome his earlier problems and the goal was just another example of his talent. Betar was stunned, but immediately pushed for an equalizer. In the 32nd minute the score was tied thanks to the persistence of striker David Aganzo. The Spanish forward broke two tackles before rounding Enyeama and firing the ball in. Jerusalem gained confidence after the goal, but despite pressuring the visitors, couldn't score again before halftime. Seven minutes after the interval, Betar fell behind once again. Baldot wriggled through the Jerusalem defense and found teammate Mata Baturina free inside the box. Baturina easily slotted the ball past Kornfein and gave his team the lead. Betar wasted no time, and, nine minutes after falling behind, the hosts equalized for the second time in the match. Substitute Barak Itzhaki controlled Fabrice Fernandes's free kick and tucked the ball under Enyeama. Six minutes later, Betar almost took the lead when Aganzo hit a spectacular bicycle kick that Enyeama did well to save. The nonstop action continued, and in the 70th minute Bnei Yehuda almost scored again. Moshe Biton took advantage of a rare defensive mistake by David Amsalem and ran past Kornfein, but was unable to score into an empty net. Three minutes into stoppage time, Leroy almost gave Betar the win, but a fantastic save by Enyeama preserved the draw.