Betar Jerusalem crushes Bnei Sakhnin

Betar Jerusalem cruised to a 3-0 victory over Bnei Sakhnin in a tense atmosphere at Doha Stadium in Sakhnin Monday night.

Betar Jerusalem cruised to a 3-0 victory over Bnei Sakhnin in a tense atmosphere at Doha Stadium in Sakhnin Monday night. Two first-half goals from Lior Asulin and a third from Jerome Leroy put the final Premier League game of Matchday 24 out of reach for the hosts. The yellow-and-black put on an impressive display after a difficult couple of weeks. Betar's defense, led by veteran left back David Amsalem, withstood the second-half pressure from the Sakhnin attackers. Before the match began, the "Kick Racism out of Israeli Football" campaign launched last week by the New Israel Fund was announced. Jewish and Arab children unfurled a banner proclaiming the anti-racism slogan and the players from both teams wore t-shirts bearing a similar message. However, the pre-match ceremony to a certain extent missed one of its intended targets. Due to extensive police searches, nearly all of the approximately 300 Betar fans who traveled north for the game did not enter the stadium until 15-25 minutes into the match. Many of these fans missed the first Betar goal by Asulin. After some fancy midfield work by the Frenchman Leroy, striker David Aganzo threaded the ball through to former Sakhnin forward Asulin, who took his chance to put the visitors up 1-0. Betar had been dominating the play up until then and continued to control the ball. Seven minutes later, a mistake by the Sakhnin defense allowed Asulin to shoot the ball past Sakhnin 'keeper Meir Cohen. By this time, the Jerusalem side was in full flow. At the 35-minute mark, Betar's Congolese midfielder Mazua Ensombo even tried a speculative volley from outside the box, which was saved by Cohen. The game was effectively put out of reach a couple of minutes later when the ball broke to Leroy, who pushed forward and lobbed past the hapless Sakhnin 'keeper. For the remainder of the half, Sakhnin tried to cut into the deficit but came up empty. At one point just before halftime, Pasqual Kondafoni broke forward, but his shot flew harmlessly wide. The second half saw continued pressure on the Betar goal, where 'keeper Itzik Korenfein was forced to make a series of saves, including a spectacular stop of a header from Shuki Nagar that Korenfein tipped over the bar. With the well-deserved victory, Betar now sits in third place, two points behind Hapoel Tel Aviv, which surprised Maccabi Haifa on Saturday night. The yellow-and-black face the reigning league champions at Teddy Stadium on Sunday night knowing they need a win ahead of the crucial matchup against Hapoel Tel Aviv the following week at Bloomfield Stadium.