Hap TA takes care of business; Mac Haifa held

Omer Damari scored the only goal of the match in the 25th minute after an excellent team move which he also started.

Maccabi Haifa_311 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Haifa_311
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Tel Aviv strengthened its hold on first place in the Premier League on Sunday night with a 1-0 victory at Bnei Sakhnin.
Omer Damari scored the only goal of the match in the 25th minute after an excellent team move which he also started and Hapoel ended Sakhnin’s perfect home record with its third win in its last four league matches.
“This was a difficult match,” Hapoel coach Dror Kashtan said. “Sakhnin has a very good team and my players deserve a lot of credit for winning a match in which they didn’t play that well.”
Hapoel’s victory also extended its margin over reigning-champion Maccabi Haifa to seven points after the Greens were held to a 1-1 draw by Bnei Yehuda at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium on Sunday.
Haifa seemed to be heading to a win after Hen Azriel gave it the lead in the 31st minute, but a Jurica Buljat own-goal nine minutes from time cost the Greens two important points.
“This is a bad result for us,” Haifa coach Elisha Levy said. “We should have won this kind of match, but we are very inconsistent,” added Levy, whose team has yet to win consecutive league matches this season.
Azriel wasn’t even supposed to start Sunday’s match, but he replaced Vladimir Dvalishvili, who was injured in the warm-up, and he put the hosts in front after breaking down the left flank before shooting past Dele Aiyenugba with the help of a slight deflection off Aviv Hadad.
Aiyenugba kept Bnei Yehuda in the match with an excellent double save from Weeam Amasha and Yaniv Katan three minutes into the second half, but Bnei Yehuda worked its way into the game after the break and tied the score in the 81st minute.
Buljat completely fluffed his clearance from Pedro Galvan’s corner kick, sending the ball backwards into the back of his own net instead of forward into safety.
The hosts created little after that and were forced to settle for a draw, failing to win for the fourth time in their last five matches.