Betar secures superb double at Teddy

Jerusalem defeats Netanya 3-0; Bnei Yehuda continues great escape with 7th win in a row.

betar champs 224 88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
betar champs 224 88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
After so many false starts Betar Jerusalem finally secured the double it always dreamt of in triumphant style with a 3-0 victory over Maccabi Netanya at Teddy Stadium on Saturday night. In recent weeks Jerusalem had been far from the all-conquering team it was at the start of the season, and suffered three embarrassing league defeats in a row to Hapoel Tel Aviv, Ashdod SC and Bnei Yehuda coming into this weekend's round of matches. And the side had not played particularly well on Tuesday night when it beat Hapoel Tel Aviv on penalties to win the State Cup after a dull 0-0 draw. But Itzhak Schum's team came into its own on Saturday and put in a champion's performance to defeat second-placed Netanya through goals by Aviram Bruchian, Michael Zandberg and Toto Tamuz. Following the final whistle a five minute firework display greeted the new champions and the players celebrated on the pitch for another ten minutes, drinking champagne and showing their appreciation for the crowd who had gone through so much with them this season. Ghanaian midfielder Derrick Boateng showed his usual exuberance, showering journalists, photographers and his teammates with bubbly before heading into the locker room. "You know we give thanks to God for the power he gives us and the knowledge and we feel very happy to win the double," Boateng told The Jerusalem Post. "It's very good for us. we are happy we have made history. It is very good for the club and the players and we want to thank the fans." Goalkeeper Tvrtko Kale was lauded by the supporters throughout the game, who thanked him for the two saves he made in the penalty shoot out on Tuesday. Also Saturday, Bnei Yehuda continued its great escape with an incredible seventh straight league win, beating Hapoel Kfar Saba 3-0 at Bloomfield, Bnei Sakhnin kept the pressure up on Netanya for second position with a 2-0 away victory at Maccabi Herzliya and Ashdod SC gave itself a fighting chance of escaping relegation by beating Ironi Kiryat Shmona 2-0 at home. Meanwhile, Maccabi Tel Aviv captain Avi Nimni made his final appearance for the club in its 2-1 win over Maccabi Petah Tikva in front of some 13,000 fans at Bloomfield. Betar Jerusalem 3, Maccabi Netanya 0 There was a bizarre atmosphere at Teddy Stadium with the entire East Stand empty due to the punishment imposed on Betar by the Israel Football Association for the fans' pitch invasion against Maccabi Herzliya last month. Betar knew that a draw would be enough to clinch a second league title, but played for the win. Tamuz, who came on as a sub against Hapoel Tel Aviv in the cup final on Tuesday, started up front as Jerusalem's lone striker in place of Romulo. Boateng had a chance to give the host the lead on the half hour after a rare quality passing move, but his half volley inside the six yard box zipped high over the cross bar. However, the breakthrough came three minutes later when Aviram Bruchian skipped into the penalty area and Avi Strool clearly handled the ball. Bruchian made no mistake with the spot kick, smashing the ball past Strauber. Ziv so nearly made it 2-0 when he fired in a superb shot from well outside the area after a neat interchange with Idan Tal, forcing Strauber to jump high and stretch to palm the ball over the bar. It was an open encounter in the second half. Bruchian should have done better five minutes in, when he shot over the bar on the half volley from an Idan Tal short range cross. Jerusalem took advantage of its control of the game in the 59th minute. Betar was four on three in the last third of the field when Strauber made a double save, first from Tamuz then from Bruchian, but couldn't stop Zandberg's storming effort. Two minutes later Tamuz was through on his own and made no mistake to make the score 3-0 and the fans were on their feet. Maccabi Tel Aviv 2, Maccabi Petah Tikva 1 Maccabi captain and general manager Avi Nimni received a signed shirt at the start of the game in honor of his long time commitment to the club, and made a brief substitute's appearance in what was his last game for the Tel Aviv side. Lior Jan put the hosts ahead in the 15th minute with a header from a Jonathan Asous corner kick. Suli Tezmach equalized for Petah Tikva 10 minutes before half time. Just when it seemed like Tel Aviv had to settle for a draw, Frenchman Yannick Kamanan popped up to score the winner three minutes from time. Bnei Yehuda 3, Hapoel Kfar Saba 0 After defeating top of the table Betar Jerusalem last weekend, the team from south Tel Aviv solidified its place above the red relegation line with a 3-0 win over Hapoel Kfar Saba at Bloomfield Stadium. After a tense opening 45 minutes Moshe Biton opened the scoring two minutes after half time with a classy shot on the turn. Hrvoje Kovacevic added a second 11 minutes later from a free kick which bent round the wall. And Biton got his second and Bnei Yehuda's third in the 76th minute when he rounded Kfar Saba 'keeper Ohad Levita and slotted home with aplomb to complete the rout. On Friday, Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan clinched the National League title and promotion to the Premier League after one season out of the top flight. The team in purple thumped Upper Nazareth 4-0 at Winter Stadium giving it an unassailable five-point lead at the top of the standings.