Hap TA finding its form

Tamuz heading to Monaco; Yehezkel fired from Rishon.

Soccer 390 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Soccer 390
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Tel Aviv won consecutive Premier League matches for the first time in almost two months on Sunday, beating Hapoel Petah Tikva 3-2 at the Moshava Stadium to climb back to second place in the standings.
After a tumultuous few weeks, which included the resignation of the backbone of the club’s front office and the sacking of coach Dror Kashtan, all the Reds want at the moment is to get back on track and Sunday’s result will go a long way to helping their cause.
A Mahmoud Abbas mistake gifted Petah Tikva the opener after seven minutes, with Guy Tzarfati eventually making the most of Tel Aviv’s blunder.
It took the visitors just seven minutes to equalize, with Omer Damari squaring the ball for Elroei Cohen, who made no mistake in front of an empty net.
Two goals in four second half minutes effectively clinched the three points for Tel Aviv, with Avihai Yadin’s rocket from 25 meters out putting the Reds in front in the 60th and Maharan Lala’s first league goal in 21 months three minutes later giving Hapoel a much-needed cushion.
Armon Ben-Naim’s strike in the 71st minute ended up being of little consolation for Petah Tikva, which lost for the fourth straight time and is already all but relegated to the National League, remaining 12 points from safety.
Sunday’s win brings Tel Aviv to within nine points of leader Ironi Kiryat Shmona, which visits Maccabi Tel Aviv on Monday.
Hapoel hosts third-place Ashdod SC on Saturday and will still be trying to get used to life without Toto Tamuz after the striker missed Sunday’s encounter ahead of his expected move to AS Monaco.
Tamuz is set to fly out to France in the coming days to undergo a medical and complete his transfer to the Ligue 2 club.
The 23-year-old striker, who has scored 13 league goals this season, had his value set last week at 1.5 million euro by an arbitrator, an asking price Monaco seems more than happy to meet.
Monaco, which dropped out of the French top flight last term, is currently placed in 19th position out of 20 teams in the second division and is in real danger of suffering a second successive relegation.
However, two-thirds of the club was sold to an investment group led by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev last month and he has big plans for the club, which made the Champions League final in 2004 and won the last of its seven French championships in 2000.
Tamuz had hoped to move to a bigger and better positioned club in Europe, but he bid farewell to his teammates on Sunday after Monaco offered an incredible salary in the region of 800,000 euro per season.
In other Israeli soccer news, Nissan Yehezkel was sacked by Hapoel Rishon Lezion on Sunday following the ultimatum he set club owner Raviv Sapir after Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Betar Jerusalem.
After guiding Rishon to just its second win in 21 league matches, Yehezkel said in his post-match TV interview that he will consider leaving should the club’s ownership fail to bring in the players he has requested before the close of the January transfer window.
Sapir, who had backed Yehezkel during the team’s recent disappointing run while also bringing in two new players this month, was upset by the coach’s ultimatum and fired him on Sunday.
Eyal Lachman and Yehezkel’s assistant Sharom Mimer are the early favorites to take charge of Rishon.