Haifa unbeaten streak intact

Despite Hapoel Tel Aviv's attempts, Maccabi Haifa maintained their streak with a 0-0 draw.

Hapoel Tel Aviv did all it could Sunday night to end Maccabi Haifa's unbeaten streak, but the greens held on for a 0-0 draw Sunday night at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv. Despite the reds' best efforts, Haifa continues its march to a third consecutive Premier League championship. Haifa was on the back foot for most of the match, but handled everything Hapoel throw at it. Hapoel couldn't get the better of Maccabi's star Brazilian defensive midfielder Xavier Dirceu, who stopped Tel Aviv's attacks and marshalled the greens from the center of field. As well as getting a point, Hapoel can pride itself on being the first team this season to shut out Haifa. Maccabi had scored in all of its previous 14 league matches, but Hapoel's powerful defense held the greens at bay. Hapoel and Betar Jerusalem are now 13 points behind the league frontrunners. The match marked Yaniv Katan's final game for Haifa ahead of his flight to England on Monday morning to join London side West Ham United of the English Premier League. Katan is set to be unveiled at halftime of the Hammers match against Chelsea at Upton Park. Both Hapoel and Maccabi began Sunday's match well and tried to score an early goal. Four minutes in, Haifa striker Roberto Colautti was toppled over in the box by Hapoel defender Assi Domb, but the referee ignored Maccabi's pleas for a penalty and ruled to play on. The match's first real chance came in the 17th minute when Hapoel striker Omer Peretz volleyed the ball from the right corner of the box, but his shot was parried by keeper Nir Davidovich and cleared by the defense. Tel Aviv continued to pressure the Haifa defense and two minutes later it was Yossi Abuksis's turn to be denied by Davidovich. Abuksis hit a screamer from 25 meters out, but the Haifa 'keeper leapt to the ball and tipped it over the crossbar. Haifa reacted immediately and three minutes after Abuksis's shot, almost got on the scoreboard. Yaniv Katan found space 20 meters from goal and hit a low shot to the left corner, but 'keeper Shavit Elimelech kept his concentration and saved the ball. Twenty-eight minutes into the match Hapoel midfielder Baruch Dego had the best chance of the half to score. He broke free of the Haifa defense, but failed to beat Davidovich, who cleared the ball for a corner. The second half began much like the first ended, with both teams pushing forward, but as the match progressed both teams began to tire and chances were at a premium. Eleven minutes from time Gustavo Boccoli should have put Haifa in the lead, but his weak shot from 10 meters out rolled harmlessly by the goal. Two minutes into stoppage time Ibazito Ogabuna had the chance to give Hapoel the victory, but he completely missed his shot from five meters out.