Hapoel Tel Aviv forced to settle for draw

Reds rally from two-goal deficit, but drop points at Acre; Mac TA coasts; Betar falls to Mac PT.

Vincent Enyeama (photo credit: Associated Press)
Vincent Enyeama
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Three days before it opens its Champions League group stage campaign against Benfica in Portugal, Hapoel Tel Aviv dropped two more Premier League points on Saturday, drawing 2-2 at Hapoel Acre.
Tel Aviv trailed 2-0 until the 75th minute, but goals by substitute Victor Mare (75) and debutant Toto Tamuz (84) ensured the Reds at least returned home with a single point, avoiding a second humbling defeat just three matches into the season after losing to Hapoel Haifa in the opening weekend.
“We conceded goals because we weren’t composed,” Tel Aviv coach Eli Gutman said. “It is not like us to concede these kinds of goals. On the other hand, the team deserves credit for coming back and coming close to winning the match. We failed to win because we made mistakes, but regardless there is no connection between tonight’s game and the match on Tuesday.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv overtook its arch-rival in the standings on Saturday, claiming its second straight victory, beating Bnei Sakhnin 4-0 at Bloomfield Stadium.
The yellow-and-blue controlled the possession from the start, but couldn’t make the breakthrough until the 43rd minute.
Roberto Colautti was brought down in the box and Haris Medunjanin converted the spot kick with ease. Less than two minutes later Tel Aviv doubled its advantage, with Colautti heading in from close range.
Khaled Khalaila was sent off after picking up his second yellow card of the match five minutes into the second half and the hosts would cruise after that, wrapping up the emphatic win thanks to goals from Yuval Avidor (83) and Eliran Atar (85).
“We could have won by more goals, but we’re not pigs,” Maccabi manager Avi Nimni said. “Sakhnin tried to shut us down, but after we got the first goal we broke them down. We are pleased with the result and with the performance.”
Meanwhile, Uri Malmilian’s nightmare start at Betar Jerusalem continued on Saturday, with Maccabi Petah Tikva beating the team from the capital 2-1, handing Betar its third straight loss.
Nebojsa Marinkovic gave the hosts the lead two minutes into the second half, but halftime substitute Samuel Yeboah equalized in the 58th minute and renewed Betar’s hopes of finally picking up its first point of the season.
However, Petah Tikva dominated the remainder of the match and took a deserved three points after Ori Uzan scored from the penalty spot in the 76th minute.
“Our heads are down after losing three straight matches,” Malmilian said. “We made silly mistakes once again and we must make a change. We are under pressure but as soon as we get the first victory the crisis will be over.”
Also Saturday, Maccabi Netanya climbed to the top of the standings, beating Ashdod SC 2-0 at home.
The visitors were always facing an uphill battle after goalkeeper Dragan Stojkic was sent off 12 minutes into the encounter, but Netanya only clinched the win late in the match via goals from Omer Peretz (83) and Orel Dgani (90).
Ironi Kiryat Shmona is tied on seven points with Netanya after defeating Hapoel Petah Tikva 3-1.
Dudu Biton gave the visitors the lead in the 24th minute, but Salah Harsarma (42) and an Alroey Cohen double (57, 60) gave last season’s National League champion another three points.
Earlier Saturday, Hapoel Ashkelon drew 1-1 against Hapoel Ramat Gan, with Eran Levy giving Ashkelon the lead in the 42nd minute and Ofir Haim equalizing for the visitors six minutes after the halftime break.
On Sunday, Hapoel Haifa will look to maintain its perfect start to the season when it hosts Bnei Yehuda, with Maccabi Haifa to go for its third straight victory when it visits Hapoel Beersheba on Monday.