Local Soccer: Betar crushed by Shakhtar

The Israeli league champion was beaten easily 3-0 by Ukranian side Shakhtar Donetsk at Teddy Stadium.

Betar Jerusalem may have aspirations to challenge the top clubs in Europe in the near future, but on Wednesday night the Israeli league champion was given an indication of the gulf in class it will have to over come, when it was beaten easily 3-0 by Ukranian side Shakhtar Donetsk at Teddy Stadium. The match was the opening game of the Channel One Cup, a tournament sponsored by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich which gives Eastern European clubs a chance to play in a warmer climate while their leagues are in the middle of a winter break. It was not that Betar played very badly, just that Itzhak Schum's team was unable to create the quality opportunities needed to get the better of a team with Champions League experience. Donetsk has regularly featured in Europe's top competition and the experience showed as the game went on and the team in bright orange shirts controlled its pace, holding back and then bursting forward when the time was right. Luiz Adriano Sousa Da Silva stood out for the visiting side in the center of midfield, showing the strength and resilience which has made Donetsk a team to be feared. Of all the Betar Jerusalem players, Gal Alberman was the most impressive, illustrating a greater degree of class and skill than many of his teammates. Alberman had been left out of the team for the visit to Ashdod SC on Sunday, coming on as a late substitute. But he displayed the vision which has made him a regular starter for the yellow and black. The first goal shocked the home team, coming in the first minute from a freekick by Fernando Luiz Roza from just outside the penalty area. Betar came back into the game over the next 45 minutes and Romulo hit the cross bar three minutes before half time, but was unable to get one back. The club's new Peruvian signing Cesar Junior Viza made his debut in the match but looked somewhat out of sorts in an attacking role in the center of midfield. It is clear he will need to spend more time training with his teammates before he can develop the understanding he needs. The second half started with Betar playing positive soccer, but ended with Donetsk stretching its lead by two more goals. Mariusz Lewandowski scored the second from a corner just before the hour mark and Gay Oleksiy wrapped it up with a close range volley in the 90th minute. Betar will face CSKA Moscow next Tuesday in its second Group A game, but looks unlikely to reach the final and have any chance of winning the $1 million prize Abramovich has put on offer. Also Wednesday, Toto Tamuz was suspended for a week and fined NIS 10,000 by Betar. Tamuz was handed the punishment after he was quoted in Yediot Ahronot as saying that the only reason he was substituted in the 70th minute of the team's match on Sunday against Ashdod SC was because coach Itzhak Schum is afraid to substitute some of the side's other players.