Betar wins in first game under Levy

J’lem 2-1 winner at Beersheba; Greens go top; Mac TA throttles Ashdod.

Colautti 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Colautti 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Roni Levy’s tenure at Betar Jerusalem started off on the right foot on Saturday, while Maccabi Haifa returned to the top of the Premier League standings and Maccabi Tel Aviv won once more under Moti Ivanir’s guidance.
Betar had triumphed just once in Uri Malmilian’s final five matches in charge, losing its last two, but it came back from a goal down to win at Hapoel Beersheba on Saturday, claiming a 2-1 victory to give its new coach an ideal start to his tenure.
“This is a very important win,” Levy said. “Betar is a massive club and I didn’t think twice about coming aboard. I didn’t care about the team’s situation and its place in the bottom half of the standings.
I knew I had players to work with here.”
After having its six-match winning streak snapped by Beersheba last week, Haifa returned to winning ways on Saturday, beating Bnei Yehuda 1-0 at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium through Vladimir Dvalishvili’s 41st minute goal.
“Unlike the match against Beersheba, we played well tonight,” said Haifa coach Elisha Levy, who will hope that Hapoel Tel Aviv slips up at Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Monday so the Greens can stay in first position for more than just 48 hours. “We had to work hard for the win, but we moved the ball nicely and it is a shame we didn’t score more than one goal and finish the match earlier.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv is just six points back of Haifa, winning its second straight match under Ivanir’s guidance, thrashing Ashdod SC 4-1 at Bloomfield Stadium.
The yellow-and-blue got the match off to a good start, but had to wait until the 40th minute to take the lead, with Eliran Atar pouncing on goalkeeper Yossi Shekel’s poor save to tuck in the opener.
Maccabi thought it had clinched the win in the 59th minute when Avi Strul deflected Maor Buzaglo’s shot into the back of the net. But just two minutes later, Efe Ambrose got onw back for Ashdod, capitalizing on Liran Strauber’s mistake.
However, Buzaglo scored with a superb volley in the 73rd minute and Haris Medunjanin wrapped up the win five minutes from time, missing a penalty, but scoring from the rebound.
“We scored four and could have scored four more,” said Ivanir, who could not have hoped for a better home debut as Maccabi coach.
The match in Beersheba was preceded by violent incidents between both sets of supporters, with one Betar fan being stabbed and moderately wounded just outside the Soroka Medical Center.
The hosts were hoping to give midfielder Maor Melikson a winning farewell before he completes his move to Wisla Krakow, and they had the lead at the break, with David Revivo’s free kick in the 43rd minute deceiving everyone and flying into the back of the net.
However, Betar finally showed the fighting spirit it so desperately lacked under Malmilian, scoring twice in 11 second- half minutes to clinch a crucial win.
Idan Tal equalized in the 58th minute with a super strike from 25 meters out before Cristian Gonzalez easily slotted in the winner (69) after Moshe Mishaelof’s header struck the upright.
Ohad Kadusi scored a hat-trick for Hapoel Petah Tikva on Saturday, but it was only enough to claim a 3-3 draw at Maccabi Netanya.
Netanya scored the opener through Nir Nahum (11), but three goals by Kadusi in the first half (15, 34, 42) gave the visitors a promising lead at the break.
However, Kobi Djani gave Netanya some hope with a goal five minutes into the second half and Dele Yampolsky (63) ensured Reuven Atar’s men ended the match with a point.
Also Saturday, Hapoel Acre and Hapoel Ramat Gan drew 0-0, with the match between Hapoel Ashkelon and Hapoel Haifa also ending goalless.
Maccabi Petah Tikva hosts Bnei Sakhnin on Sunday.