Ivanir wins Mac TA debut in Sakhnin

Yellow-and-blue win 3-1 while Mac Haifa is held to 2-2 draw by Beersheba

Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Moti Ivanir 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Moti Ivanir 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Moti Ivanir’s tenure as Maccabi Tel Aviv coach got off to a winning start on Saturday, while Maccabi Haifa was held to a 2-2 draw by 10-man Hapoel Beersheba, ending its six-match winning streak.
Two second half substitutions by Ivanir were the turning point in Saturday’s 3-1 victory at Bnei Sakhnin, with Roberto Colautti scoring twice after coming on in the 63rd minute and Maor Buzaglo passing the assist for the second goal three minutes after entering the match off the bench.
“Anyone who thinks this was an easy match has got it all wrong,” Ivanir said.
“It is not easy to play in Sakhnin and we won a very important encounter.”
Maccabi’s new coach wasn’t very pleased with his team’s level of play, but was delighted with their commitment and determination.
“I said that we might not play very well to start with, but I promised that I would make the players give their all and they did that today,” he said.
“I don’t know any other way to succeed.
If the players bring everything out on the field there is nothing that can deny them success.”
Haifa took the lead against Beersheba at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium through Vladimir Dvalishvili’s goal in the 17th minute. Lior Asulin equalized in first-half stoppage time, but the hosts were still in the driving seat at the break following Ricardo Fernandes’ sending off moments later.
Gustavo Boccoli put Haifa in front yet again in the 55th minute, but just when it seemed Elisha Levy’s team would go on to cruise to the win, Eran Levy scored for Beersheba with a free-kick in the 61st minute, and the visitors held on for an impressive point.
Hapoel Tel Aviv hosts Hapoel Acre on Monday and can leapfrog Haifa into first position with a victory.
In Sakhnin, Maccabi took the lead five minutes from the break, with Eliran Atar laying the ball off for Haris Medunjanin, who coolly slotted in the opener from the edge of the box.
Sakhnin did not deserve to be a goal down at halftime and it looked to correct that by going in search of the equalizer as soon as the match resumed.
Bulgarian striker Kostadin Hazurov hit the crossbar four minutes into the second half, but the hosts would finally score a deserved equalizer in the 57th minute when Ala Abu Saleh made the most of Maccabi’s drowsy defense to head the ball beyond goalkeeper Liran Strauber.
Ivanir reacted with two substitutions and his changes would win the match for the yellow-and-blue.
In the 72nd minute, Buzaglo squared the ball for Colautti, who gave Tel Aviv the lead with a clever finish, with the striker scoring his third goal in less than a week, eight minutes from time, thanks to a superb strike from the edge of the area.
Meanwhile, Betar Jerusalem’s struggles continued on Saturday, with Uri Malmilian’s team losing 2-0 to Maccabi Petah Tikva at Teddy Stadium.
Yossi Ofir scored the opener in the 39th minute, with Omer Golan clinching the victory in the 67th minute, extending Betar’s winless streak to five matches.
Ironi Kiryat Shmona remains just three points behind Maccabi Tel Aviv, coming back from a goal down to defeat Hapoel Petah Tikva 3-1 on the road.
Alon Turgeman gave the hosts the lead after 16 minutes, but Kiryat Shmona would take all three points with three goals in the second half through Elad Gabay (52), William Njovu (68) and Tomer Swisa (85).
Bnei Yehuda claimed its first win since November on Saturday, beating Hapoel Haifa 3-2 at Bloomfield Stadium.
Shlomi Levy (28), Pedro Galvan (49) and Kfir Edri (81) scored for Dror Kashtan’s side, with Eden Ben-Basat (73) and Hanan Maman (90) netting consolation goals for the visitors.
Also Saturday, Hapoel Ashkelon thrashed Hapoel Ramat Gan 4-0 thanks to goals from Serge Ayeli (32), Eric Gawu (37), Snir Goeta (82) and Mahmoud Abbas (90).
Ashdod SC hosts Maccabi Netanya today.