Hapoel Tel Aviv suffers another local loss

Reds humbled at home by Kiryat Shmona; Betar routs Hap BS to notch first victory.

Enyema 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Enyema 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Hapoel Tel Aviv will enter Wednesday’s Champions League group match against Lyon with its Premier League title defense in complete disarray following Saturday’s 4-2 defeat to Ironi Kiryat Shmona at Bloomfield Stadium.
Meanwhile, Betar Jerusalem finally picked up its first points of the season, beating Hapoel Beersheba 5-1 to end a threematch losing streak, while Maccabi Haifa claimed its third win in four matches, defeating Bnei Yehuda 3-2 at Bloomfield.
After losing just one league match throughout last season, Tel Aviv fell to its second defeat in just four encounters on Saturday, a mere four days before it hosts its first ever Champions League game.
Wiyam Amashe scored a hattrick for Kiryat Shmona to hand Hapoel its first league home defeat in over a year, meaning Tel Aviv has picked up only four points from its first four matches.
“Clearly Hapoel Tel Aviv has a problem,” coach Eli Gutman said. “We conceded four goals at home. Kiryat Shmona deserves a lot of credit, but we are going through some difficult days. The problems in the management didn’t affect our play. We prepared the team well and I had a good feeling before the match. We’ve started the season poorly, but we are a family and we will get through this.”
Despite last week’s off-field distractions, which included co-owners Moni Harel and Eli Tabib wrangling in the media about the club’s operations and Gutman only finally signing his new contract on Tuesday, Hapoel got Saturday’s match off to a good enough start.
After 10 minutes, Yossi Shivhon squared the ball for Itai Shechter, who easily rolled in his first league goal of the season.
However, Tel Aviv’s defense was in shambles, and after creating several opportunities, Kiryat Shmona got a deserved equalizer. Alroey Cohen picked out Amashe and the striker gave goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama no chance with his shot.
The goal galvanized the visitors, and 11 minutes later Ran Ben-Shimon’s team took the lead.
Once more Cohen was in charge of the build-up play, eventually threading the ball through to William Njovu, who rounded Enyeama to slot the ball into an empty net.
Nine minutes after the break, Shechter tied the score with his second goal of the afternoon and Tel Aviv seemed to be back on track.
However, Tel Aviv shot itself in the foot in the 67th minute, with Avihai Yadin’s horrendous back-pass being picked off by Amashe, who cleared Enyeama to put the visitors back in the lead.
Seven minutes later, the humiliation was completed, with Amashe smashing in his third-goal of the match from outside the box.
Hapoel defender Douglas da Silva let his frustration get the better of him in the 83rd minute, stamping on Kiryat Shomna’s Adrian Rochet and being sent off, compounding the misery on the struggling champions.
“Kiryat Shmona was the better team and deserved to win,” Shechter said. “We looked bad today, but we need to lift our heads and be strong ahead of the match against Lyon.”
At Teddy Stadium, Betar was desperate to finally take a point under the guidance of Uri Malmilian and it got off to the perfect start.
Steven Cohen had space on the right flank and Amit Ben- Shushan slotted in his cross just three minutes into the encounter. Seven minutes later it was 2-0 thanks to Aviram Bruchian, but Beersheba seemed to get back in the match after Avi Yehiel’s header in the 39th minute.
However, three minutes later, Ben-Shushan scored his second goal of the night to ensure the hosts had a comfortable lead at the break, and Betar wrapped up the win in the second half with goals by Idan Tal (54) and Hen Azriel (81).
“We played well and we deserved to win,” Malmilian said. “We need to continue to work hard and time will tell if we will be a top team.”
In the late kickoff at Bloomfield, Haifa looked to be in complete control following Lior Rafaelov’s brace (24, 26), but Pedro Galvan fired home from the edge of the area four minutes from halftime to give the hosts some hope.
In the 71st minute, Galvan equalized in stunning fashion, scoring directly from a corner kick. However, just three minutes later Bnei Yehuda defender Ivan Garrido foolishly cut down John Culma in the box, and Vladimir Dvalishvili converted the penalty kick to give Haifa all three points.
Hapoel Haifa dropped its first points of the season on Saturday, losing 2-1 to Hapoel Ashkelon at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.
Eran Levy gave the visitors the lead in the 11th minute before Sasa Stojanovic equalized on the stroke of halftime, only for Eric Gawu to score the winner five minutes after the break.
Also Saturday, Maccabi Petah Tikva beat Bnei Sakhnin 3-2 on the road, while Maccabi Netanya drew 1-1 at Hapoel Petah Tikva.
Hapoel Ramat Gan hosts Acre on Sunday, with the inform Maccabi Tel Aviv visiting Ashdod SC on Monday.
Saturday’s results: Hapoel Tel Aviv 2, Ironi Kiryat Shmona 4; Betar Jerusalem 5, Hapoel Beersheba 1; Bnei Yehuda 2, Maccabi Haifa 3; Hapoel Haifa 1, Hapoel Ashkelon 2; Bnei Sakhnin 2, Maccabi Petah Tikva 3; Hapoel Petah Tikva 1, Maccabi Netanya 1.