Local Soccer: Ashdod comes back to snatch draw at Maccabi Tel Aviv
Also Saturday, coach Eyal Lachman marked his return to Bnei Sakhnin with a 1-0 win against Hapoel Tel Aviv.
By JONNY HADI
Maccabi Tel Aviv squandered a two-goal advantage in a compelling 2-2 draw at home to Ashdod SC on Saturday night, as Yossi Mizrahi's men continued to impress with their never-say-die attitude.
Also Saturday, coach Eyal Lachman marked his return to Bnei Sakhnin with a 1-0 win against Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa could only manage a draw at home to Ironi Kiryat Shmona.
Avi Nimni's Maccabi Tel Aviv started well at Bloomfield Stadium and took the lead on 30 minutes. Shiran Yeini whipped in a cross from the left and Maor Buzaglo rose majestically to head the ball into the top corner.
Some lovely passing led to Maccabi's second six minutes before the break. Guillermo Israilevich eventually found Buzaglo down the right, who crossed for Ilya Yavruyan.
The Armenian's header was saved by Ashdod keeper Grzegorz Szamotulski, but Yannick Kamanan poked home the rebound.
The Ashdod players came out for second half with their tails up and were soon back in contention. Assist specialist David Revivo curled a wonderful ball in behind the Maccabi defense and Dimitar Makriev deftly flicked it beyond the onrushing Dragoslav Jevric.
The same two players combined after 63 minutes to put Ashdod level, when Revivo curled in a corner and Makriev sent a header crashing into the net.
Bnei Sakhnin 1,
Hapoel Tel Aviv 0
There was late drama at Doha Stadium on Saturday evening as Sakhnin keeper Meir Cohen saved an injury-time penalty from Yigal Antebi to give Lachman a crucial win at the start of his second spell at the club.
After controlling a physical first half in which 26 fouls were committed, Sakhnin sat back in the second, but thanks to some resolute defending and solid goalkeeping from Cohen, held on for its first home win of the season.
The only goal came just before half-time, and was worthy of winning any game. Eitan Azaria won the ball strongly on the right and played in the lively Khaled Khalaila.
The Sakhnin midfielder's deflected cross was brilliantly controlled by Awudu Okocha, who then turned and smashed it in to the roof of the net.
Maccabi Haifa 1,
Ironi Kiryat Shmona 1
After a sensational start to the season, Maccabi Haifa appears to have hit a sticky spell, managing only a draw at home to Ironi Kiryat Shmona following last week's defeat to Maccabi Netanya.
Lior Rafaelov put the home side ahead just before the interval, curling a fabulous free-kick into the bottom right-hand corner. However, Haifa let the lead slip at the start of the second half. Eden Ben-Basat was bundled over by Dekel Keinan inside the area, but the Ironi striker picked himself up, beat the Haifa defender and crossed low for Yuval Avidor to score.
Hakoach Ramat Gan 0,
Hapoel Petah Tikva 1
The unstoppable Shimon Abuhatzera celebrated his return to the side after a one-match suspension by scoring his ninth goal of the season as Hapoel recovered from last week's home loss to Maccabi Tel Aviv.
The goal came 11 minutes into the second half when the Hapoel hit man broke into the penalty area from the left, beat Eitan Tibi and found the bottom corner of the net with a phenomenal finish.
The away side could have doubled its advantage on the hour, but Avi Reikan hit the bar from 15 meters out.
Maccabi Petah Tikva 0,
Bnei Yehuda 0
Bnei Yehuda remains rock bottom after a disappointing goalless draw away at Maccabi Petah Tikva.
Guy Luzon's men nearly snatched the three points four minutes from time, but Hapoel keeper Ohad Cohen made a wonderful save to deny substitute Shai Nissim after a great ball by Yossi Baldout.
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