Hap Haifa shocks Mac TA at Bloomfield

Ivanir’s side loses 1-0 while city-rivals Hapoel Tel Aviv notch another 3-0 victory.

hapoel tel aviv 311 (photo credit: Gil Korado)
hapoel tel aviv 311
(photo credit: Gil Korado)
Hapoel Tel Aviv warmed up for next week’s showdown with Maccabi Haifa with one of its best performances in recent months on Saturday, while Maccabi Tel Aviv’s title hopes suffered an unexpected blow at Bloomfield Stadium.
The reigning-champion thrashed Hapoel Beersheba 3- 0 on the road, and seems to be hitting top-form at a perfect timing with Haifa coming to Bloomfield next week.
Toto Tamuz gave the visitors an early breakthrough in the fourth minute, beating goalkeeper Ohad Cohen with a weak yet accurate effort.
Ben Sahar continued his sensational form, scoring twice (26, 60) to take his tally to nine goals in the last nine league matches, and Beersheba was fortunate to finish the match with a relatively respectable result.
“I think this was one of our best matches of the season,” said Hapoel assistant coach Yossi Abuksis, whose team leapfrogged Haifa into first position in the standings, at least until Monday, when the Greens host Hapoel Petah Tikva.
“We created a massive amount of scoring chances and the boys enjoyed the match.”
After three weeks out recuperating from a heart attack, coach Eli Gutman is expected to return to the sidelines in time for next week’s crunch match and Abuksis is looking forward to having him back.
“I’m sure Eli enjoyed watching the players tonight,” Abuksis added. “Hapoel is a well-trained team which knows what to do in any situation.”
Sahar understands the match against Haifa will be nothing like Saturday’s encounter.
“The game against Haifa will be completely different,” the on-fire striker said. “It is going to be very tough, but if we play like we did tonight we will record a good result.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv dropped to its first league defeat under coach Moti Ivanir on Saturday, losing 1-0 to Hapoel Haifa.
The yellow-and-blue had won four of five matches since Ivanir replaced Avi Nimni and Yossi Mizrahi, but played poorly throughout Saturday’s match and were beaten by Hanan Maman’s 71st minute strike.
“From the moment I have arrived we have only been winning, but tonight we played poorly and we lost,” Ivanir said.
“We didn’t play as well as we would like to and that is the reason we lost.”
Meanwhile, Betar Jerusalem continued its poor play on Saturday, drawing 0-0 with Ashdod SC at Teddy Stadium.
Betar fans were hoping for a reaction to last week’s humbling 1-0 defeat at Bnei Sakhnin, but ended up booing their team off the pitch after it could only manage another lackluster performance against an Ashdod team which had lost its last four matches.
“This season’s Betar is a team that plays at a certain level and that cannot change overnight,” Betar coach Roni Levy said. “Sadly, we are a team which has yet to comprehend its situation.”
Maccabi Netanya continued its recent revival on Saturday, beating Hapoel Ashkelon 3-0 at home for its third straight victory.
Nir Nahum scored the opener in the 33rd minute, with Firas Mugrabi (70) and Omer Peretz (82) adding to the team’s tally in the second half.
Maccabi Petah Tikva won for just the second time in five matches on Saturday, thrashing the sorry Hapoel Ramat Gan 4-1.
Omer Damari (33, 62) Murad Abu Anza (45) and Roei Bakal (75) scored for Petah Tikva, with Zion Zemah (71) netting Ramat Gan’s first goal after six scoreless matches.
Also Saturday, Bnei Yehuda won for the third time in its past four matches, defeating Bnei Sakhnin 1-0 on the road through Pedro Galvan’s 55th minute goal.
Ironi Kiryat Shmona hosts Hapoel Acre on Sunday.