Hapoel Tel Aviv sweeps aside Hap Ashkelon

Reds claim easy 2-0 road win; Kiryat Shmona back to winning ways after beating Ashdod.

Eli Gutman 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Eli Gutman 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Tel Aviv cruised to yet another Premier League victory on Saturday, beating Hapoel Ashkelon 2-0 to move into first place in the standings, at least until Maccabi Haifa visits Maccabi Petah Tikva on Sunday night.
The reigning champion was far from its best in Ashkelon, but the Reds were still more than good enough to claim their 11th win in their last 13 league matches.
Danny Bondar scored the opener in the sixth minute – his first-ever goal for Hapoel in his 76th appearance for the club – with Salim Toama securing the three points in the 79th minute.
“It was very hard for us to develop our game on this pitch,” said Hapoel assistant coach Yossi Abuksis, whose team now leads Haifa by one point.
“But good teams need to know how to take the points in these kinds of matches as well.”
Earlier Saturday, it was reported in Germany that UEFA is looking into suspicious betting on Hapoel’s Champions League match at Schalke 04.
German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung said UEFA is checking betting patterns and a significantly high volume of bets placed in Asia on the match in Gelsenkirchen on October 20 which Schalke won 3-1.
“If you have beaten Olympique Lyon 3-0, a 3-1 home victory against an opponent from Israel is not unusual without there immediately being a suspicion of manipulation,” said Schalke coach Felix Magath.
Meanwhile, Ironi Kiryat Shmona finally ended its drought on Saturday, beating Ashdod SC 3-0 after going winless in its previous five matches.
Kiryat Shmona, which had lost three straight games by a 1-0 score line, took the lead in the 48th minute through Tomer Swisa, with Adi Elisha (76) and Ofir Hemo (90) wrapping up the victory.
Hapoel Acre remained just one point behind Kiryat Shmona with a 3-0 home victory of its own on Saturday, beating hapless Hapoel Petah Tikva.
Maharan Radi’s brace (15, 34) put the hosts in the driving seat and Roei Dayan completed the scoring a minute from halftime with his 12th goal of the season.
Hapoel Haifa remained in the hunt for a top-six finish on Saturday, beating rock-bottom Hapoel Ramat Gan 2- 0 at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium thanks to two goals from Eden Ben-Basat (6, 66).
Maccabi Netanya claimed a crucial 1-0 home win over Bnei Sakhnin on Saturday, with Nir Nahum’s 22nd minute winner giving Reuvan Atar’s team just its second victory in nine matches to keep it well adrift of the battle against relegation.
Also Saturday, Bnei Yehuda recorded its fifth 0-0 draw of the season, this time against Hapoel Beersheba.
Maccabi Tel Aviv, which has yet to name a coach, hosts Betar Jerusalem on Monday. Maccabi owner Mitch Goldhar arrived in Israel on Saturday to oversee the deliberations.