Local Soccer: Beersheba comes out flying to shock Betar
Local Soccer Beersheba
By ALLON SINAI
After four years in the wilderness of the National League and a rocky start to the current season, Monday night marked Hapoel Beersheba's truly triumphant return to the Premier League.
Beersheba defeated Betar Jerusalem 3-2 at the Vasermil Stadium, a victory which not only moves the team into eighth position in the standings, but far more importantly, gives Hapoel the impetus to become one of Israel's top clubs once more.
Beersheba blew Betar away in the first half, leading 3-0 at the break thanks to goals from Lior Asulin (13), Maor Melikson (18) and David Revivo (34).
Betar finally began to play in the second half, but goals from Barak Itzhaki (58) and Toto Tamuz (68) proved to be no more than a consolation and Beersheba handed Jerusalem its first loss of the season.
Shimon Gershon missed the match because of personal reasons and Betar's defense was looking vulnerable from the start.
Six minutes into the encounter, Revivo's corner was headed on target by Brazilian Danilo Moreira, but goalkeeper Ariel Harush was well placed.
In the 13th minute there was nothing Harush could do to deny Beersheba a deserved lead. Melikson sent a clever ball into the box and Asulin's turnaround volley was a joy to behold.
Betar was rattled by conceding such an early goal and five minutes later, the hosts doubled their lead. Melikson was brought down in the box by Chen Azriel and the talented midfielder converted the penalty with a cheeky chip.
Jerusalem looked completely lost and lacked any sort of attacking initiative after going two goals down, and it was only a matter of time until Beersheba scored its third.
Revivo was given time and space 20 meters from Harush's goal and the 'keeper could do no more than nudge the ball as it flew into the back of the net in the 34th minute.
Jerusalem coach Itzhak Schum made a double substitution at the break, replacing captain Aviram Bruchian with Shmuel Kozokin and Kobi Moyal with Toto Tamuz.
Schum's changes and halftime talk worked wonders, and in the 58th minute Itzhaki gave Betar hope. The Israeli international was unmarked in the Hapoel box and he skillfully headed in Ben-Shushan's cross beyond former Jerusalem 'keeper Tvrtko Kale.
The goal put a spring in the step of Betar and 10 minutes later Schum's men were right back in the match. Beersheba's defense simply could not handle Tamuz's physical presence and the young striker blasted in his third league goal of the season.
It was all Betar after that, with the State Cup holder sending everyone forward in the hope of recording a famous comeback.
Tamuz came tantalizingly close to equalizing 11 minutes from time, with his header only being denied by the upright.
In the final seconds of stoppage time, Tamuz had one more chance to tie the score, but his driving volley was high and the Beersheba faithful celebrated as if they had won the championships as the final whistle sounded.
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