Greens blanks Hap Acre; Tel Aviv primed for derby

"My players deserve a lot of credit for this result," says Haifa coach Elisha Levy.

Elisha Levy 311 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Elisha Levy 311
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Haifa closed to within just four points of second place in the Premier League on Sunday night, beating Hapoel Acre 1-0 on the road courtesy of Eyal Golasa’s fifth-minute goal.
Golasa slotted in the winner with a first-time strike from the edge of the area from an Alon Turgeman assist and the reigning champion’s fifth win in its past seven matches moved it back within striking distance of Hapoel Tel Aviv in second place, which ensures European qualification.
“We didn’t play beautiful soccer tonight, but we played the way we needed to,” said Haifa coach Elisha Levy, who was delighted his captain Yaniv Katan got to celebrate his 400th league appearance with a victory.
“Acre is a good team and this is a tough stadium to come to. My players deserve a lot of credit for this result. We made some changes after our poor start to the season and now the team is settled.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv can strengthen its hold on second position when it hosts Maccabi Tel Aviv in the much-anticipated derby on Monday night.
It has been a season to forget for both Tel Aviv giants.
Hapoel has won just once in its past six matches, while Maccabi, which is in eighth place, ended a five-game winless streak with a 2-0 victory over Acre last week.
The owners of both clubs arrived in Israel to attend the match, but it is the presence of Hapoel’s Eli Tabib rather than Maccabi’s Mitch Goldhar which is garnering all the attention.
Hapoel fans have mounted a campaign to oust Tabib over recent months, claiming he is ruining the club.
Hundreds of fans awaited his arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport on Friday holding signs demanding he leaves, but Tabib left through a side exit and will only experience the wrath of the supports for the first time at Bloomfield on Monday.
Monday on TV: Hapoel Tel Aviv vs Maccabi Tel Aviv (live on Channel 1 at 8:50 p.m. )