From bad to worse for yellow-and-blue

Hap Haifa claims 2-0 win, drops bumbling Mac TA to fourth consecutive league loss.

Barak Itzhaki 311 (photo credit: (Adi Avishai)
Barak Itzhaki 311
(photo credit: (Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s season continued its complete and utter meltdown on Sunday, with the yellow-and-blue suffering its fourth straight defeat in the Premier League, losing 2-0 at lowly Hapoel Haifa.
A road match against a team which entered Sunday just one place off the bottom of the standings seemed like an ideal opportunity for Tel Aviv to finally get its league campaign back on track.
However, matters just continue to go from bad to worse for Moti Ivanir’s team, which has won just once in its last eight matches after beginning the campaign with five wins in six games.
“We need to sit down and think what we can do to get out of this slump,” said Ivanir, whose team has scored just a single goal in its last five league matches.
“Everything is looking bad and this is caused by a lack of confidence. As soon as the players lose confidence they begin to make mistakes. We simply can’t manage to lift ourselves out of this situation.”
Vladimir Gluscevic scored both of Haifa goals in the 21st and 73rd minutes, giving coach Tal Banin a dream start to his tenure at the club after replacing Nitzan Shirazi at the helm last week.
“There is a very talented team here,” said Banin, who guided Haifa to just its second win of the season.
“This team wants to succeed and we had no intention to settle for anything but a win against Maccabi.”
Both sides looked nervous at the start of the match, but one swift team move broke down Tel Aviv’s fragile defense.
Hanan Maman crossed the ball from the left and Gluscevic sent his header into the right corner beyond a helpless Barak Levy.
Stefan Denkovic squandered a superb chance to double Haifa’s lead in the 34th minute when he had all the time in the world to place the ball past Levy from five meters out. But Tel Aviv had little to offer at the other end, and Gluscevic clinched the win with an easy tap-in after some good build-up play by Yuval Avidor.
On Monday, Hapoel Tel Aviv hosts Maccabi Haifa in a tantalizing showdown at Bloomfield Stadium.
The two clubs have ended each of the last three seasons in the top two, with Hapoel’s championship in 2009/10 sandwiched in between Haifa’s last two league titles.
Hapoel, which can return to the top of the standings with a win, will enter Monday’s encounter brimming with confidence after beating Maccabi Tel Aviv 3-1 in the derby last week before defeating Rapid Bucharest by the same score line in Europa League action on Wednesday.
Haifa, on the other hand, suffered a disappointing 2-1 loss at AEK Larnaca in the Europa League on Thursday and enters the match at Bloomfield with its back against the wall, knowing a defeat will see it fall a significant eight points behind the Reds.