Israeli Soccer: Kiryat Shmona moves to third after win over Hapoel Tel Aviv

The three remaining matches on Saturday all ended in 0-0 draws.

Israel soccer 224.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Israel soccer 224.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Ironi Kiryat Shmona has had a more than impressive first season in the Israeli Premier League, losing only once at home all season, and that to champion Betar Jerusalem. On Saturday that run continued when two goals in two second half minutes gave Kiryat Shmona a prestigious 2-1 home victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv on Saturday. Hapoel came into the match on a three games win streak, but, despite taking the lead through Baruch Dego, conceded two quick goals from Tchiressoua Guel and Peter Ofori-Quaye and crashed to its first defeat since January. Maccabi Haifa continued to struggle on Saturday, only managing to draw 1-1 with lowly Maccabi Herzliya at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium. The three remaining matches on Saturday all ended in 0-0 draws. Second-placed Maccabi Netanya was held at home by Bnei Yehuda, Maccabi Tel Aviv claimed just one point at Bloomfield Stadium against Bnei Sakhnin and Ashdod SC drew at Maccabi Petah Tikva. In Kiryat Shmona, the home side climbed to third place in the standings thanks to its first win in four matches. The northerners trailed to a 59th minute Dego goal, but goals by African imports Guel and Ofori-Quaye turned the match on its head and doomed Tel Aviv to its first loss since January. Bibres Natcho set-up Dego, who headed Hapoel into the lead, but within 10 minutes the hosts were ahead. In the 67th minute, Ofori-Quaye put Guel through and the Ivory Coast international slotted the ball past keeper Vincent Enyeama. Two minutes later Guel was on the finishing end after a Guy Tzarfati assist and Kiryat Shmona cruised through the remainder of the match. "This is a great win," Kiryat Shmona coach Ran Ben-Shimon said. "People don't understand how difficult it is to come back after conceding a goal at home in the 60th minute. Four of the top six teams will compete for the European places until the final weeks of the season and we want to be one of those teams." Hapoel coach Eli Gutman said: "We had a two minute lap of concentration and conceded two goals which I consider a disgrace. We played poorly, but when you take a 1-0 lead you need to know how to hold on to it." Maccabi Haifa 1, Maccabi Herzliya 1 A freak goal and a horrendous miss meant Haifa failed to claim a league victory for the fifth time in six matches. Herzliya took the lead in the 44th minute after Omer Buksenboim's shot hit the post and went in off the back of Nir Davidovitch's head. Haifa upped the tempo slightly in the second half and scored the equalizer in the 60th minute. Yaniv Katan took advantage of the visitors' failure to clear the ball and tied the score with a volley from five meters out. Five minutes to the final whistle Lior Rafaelov should have given Haifa all three points, but the midfielder made an awful mess of his shot from four meters out and sent the ball over the crossbar despite facing an empty net.