Hapoel Tel Aviv goes top but draws again

Haifa remained rock-bottom, still with just a sole victory, while Netanya failed to take all three points for a sixth straight match.

Hanan Maman (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hanan Maman
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Tel Aviv climbed to the top of the Premier League standings for at least 48 hours on Saturday night, but it dropped two more important points in the title race, drawing 2-2 against Hapoel Ramat Gan at Bloomfield Stadium.
Tel Aviv didn’t show any improvement from last week’s goalless deadlock against Hapoel Acre and once more failed to pick up all three points against a supposedly inferior opponent from the bottom half of the table.
Only a Maccabi Tel Aviv loss at Maccabi Haifa on Monday will keep Hapoel in first place until next weekend.
Ramat Gan defender Tal Hen gifted the hosts the opener in the 14th minute, losing the ball on the edge of the box to Tal Ben-Haim, allowing Omer Damari to easily slot in the opener.
However, the visitors equalized through Anton Arkhipov four minutes from the break and had their chances to move into the lead, only to fall behind once more in the 72nd minute after Damari scored again.
But Ramat Gan would leave Bloomfield with a deserved point after Israel Zaguri scored from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute, with Tel Aviv’s Iyad Khutaba being sent off for blocking Arkhipov shot with his hand on the goal-line.
Ramat Gan’s new coach Eli Cohen was delighted with the draw.
“We played well and the players deserve every credit for showing maturity and character,” Cohen said.
Ashdod SC missed a chance to put pressure on the top two on Saturday, losing 1-0 at Hapoel Ramat Hasharon, with Ran Itzhak scoring the only goal of the match in the 77th minute.
Maccabi Netanya and Hapoel Haifa played out a dreary 0-0 draw on Saturday, showing exactly why they are struggling so desperately this season.
Haifa remained rock-bottom, still with just a sole victory this season, while Netanya failed to take all three points for a sixth straight match.
Bnei Sakhnin snapped Hapoel Beersheba’s three-game winning streak on Saturday, triumphing 3-2 at Doha Stadium.
Dovev Gabai gave Beersheba the lead in the 22nd minute, but Sakhnin leveled the score six minutes later through Shimon Harush, and Ahmed Kasoum (66) and Hamad Ganayem (79) completed the comeback in the second half before Gabai netted a meaningless consolation goal (80).
On Sunday, Betar Jerusalem hosts Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Bnei Yehuda welcomes Acre.