Easy wins for Mac Haifa, Hap Tel Aviv

Greens dispatch Netanya 3-0; Reds rip Hap RG 4-0; Betar outlasts KS 1-0.

Hapoel Tel Aviv strikers Toto Tamuz and Ben Sahar (photo credit: Hapoel Tel Aviv website)
Hapoel Tel Aviv strikers Toto Tamuz and Ben Sahar
(photo credit: Hapoel Tel Aviv website)
Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Tel Aviv maintained the status quo at the top of the Premier League standings on Saturday, with both teams claiming easy home victories to pull further ahead of the rest of the league.
Haifa cruised to a 3-0 win over Maccabi Netanya at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium while Hapoel thrashed Hapoel Ramat Gan 4-0 at Bloomfield Stadium.
Tomer Hemed scored Haifa’s opener in the 30th minute, with Eyal Meshumar tucking in the rebound from Yaniv Katan’s missed penalty 11 minutes into the second half, and Vladimir Dvalishvili wrapping up the scoring six minutes later.
“We are improving with every match,” said Greens coach Elisha Levy, whose team has now won four straight encounters by a combined goal difference of 10-1. “We know there is still plenty of room for improvement, but the most important thing is that we make sure we are ready for the championship playoff.”
Hapoel moved into the lead at Bloomfield through Ben Sahar’s 20th-minute strike and was in cruise control by the break after Douglas da Silva scored with a header from an Eran Zahavi corner 15 minutes later.
Saturday’s match was likely da Silva’s last as a Tel Aviv player, with the Brazilian defender on the verge of completing his transfer to Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg for a fee believed to be in the region of 2.8 million euros.
Toto Tamuz (59) and Shay Abutbul (88) improved the reigning champion’s goal difference in the second half, with da Silva being given a standing ovation by the fans when he was substituted five minutes from time.
“This was a night of mixed emotions because of Douglas’s imminent departure,” said Hapoel coach Eli Gutman of the defender who is expected to leave when the January transfer window opens. “He is the foundation of our defense, but I understand that he needs to be allowed to further his career in Europe. We are looking for a replacement and I believe we will find a suitable one.”
Meanwhile, Betar Jerusalem bounced back from last week’s loss at Hapoel Acre to claim its fourth victory in five matches, beating Ironi Kiryat Shmona 1-0 at an empty Teddy Stadium – due to previous fan unruliness – thanks to Aviram Bruchian’s 54th minute free kick.
“Kiryat Shmona was the better team, but I’m happy to take the three points even when we play poorly,” Betar coach Uri Malmilian said. “We didn’t play well and I hope that when the league returns to action in two weeks we will be better.”
After its impressive start to the season, Kiryat Shmona is now winless in its last four matches, losing two straight.
Hapoel Acre and Maccabi Petah Tikva closed to within one point of Kiryat Shmona with victories on Saturday.
Acre defeated Bnei Sakhnin at Doha Stadium through Cristian Danalache 41st-minute own goal.
Petah Tikva extended its unbeaten streak to six matches, beating Bnei Yehuda 3-0 at home. Omer Golan (5), Yossi Ofir (13) and Sebastian Sansoni (34) scored for the hosts, handing Dror Kashtan’s men their third straight defeat.
Also Saturday, Ashdod SC defeated Hapoel Ashkelon 3-2, with Nir Biton (20, 71) and Moshe Ohayon (67) scoring for the hosts, while Mahmoud Abbas (47, 88) netted consolation goals for Sakhnin.
Hapoel Petah Tikva hosts Hapoel Haifa on Sunday, with Maccabi Tel Aviv visiting Hapoel Beersheba on Monday.