Kiryat Shmona, Haifa settle for dull draw

Goal-less deadlock of little use for either team in Premier League title race.

Maccabi Haifa player Gustavo Boccoli 370 (photo credit: Uzi Gal)
Maccabi Haifa player Gustavo Boccoli 370
(photo credit: Uzi Gal)
Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Maccabi Haifa entered Monday’s showdown as two of the Premier League’s inform teams.
However, they combined to display one of the dreariest matches of the season, playing out a disappointing 0-0 deadlock in Kiryat Shmona.
Both Kiryat Shmona and Haifa had a chance to make up important ground in the title race with a win on Monday, but both seemed content with a single point from the kickoff.
The only real chance on the match arrived in the 90th minute, with Kiryat Shmona’s Darko Tasevski hitting the post with a header, ensuring the match ended in a goalless draw both sides deserved.
Kiryat Shmona climbed up to fourth with the draw, moving within eight points of league-leader Maccabi Tel Aviv after avoiding defeat for the seventh time in its past eight encounters.
“It wasn’t that we told the players to play like this,” explained Kiryat Shmona coach Barak Bachar. “We have played really well in the last six weeks, but we faced a very tough team tonight which made life difficult for us.”
Considering Haifa was in danger of battling against relegation when Reuven Atar was sacked just one month ago, it was perhaps not surprising that new coach Arik Benado was content with Monday’s point.
Haifa had won all four of its previous matches under Benado, who was delighted with the fact his team at least kept a clean-sheet for the fifth time in six matches under his stewardship.
“This was a defensive and tactical match,” Benado said. “We wanted to win this match, but Kiryat Shmona made life difficult for us and both teams played well in defense.”
Haifa captain Yaniv Katan was pleased the Greens at least managed to pick up a single point despite a far from inspiring performance.
“This wasn’t a great match, but it isn’t easy to play here,” he said. “We know we didn’t play that well, but this is an important point.”