Local Soccer: Betar, Maccabi play to scoreless deadlock

Nimni still without a victory since winning debut; Matthaus sent off during 0-0 draw.

Barak Itzhaki betar mac ta 248 88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Barak Itzhaki betar mac ta 248 88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv and Betar Jerusalem showed on Saturday just why they have been struggling so desperately this season, drawing 0-0 at Bloomfield Stadium. At the start of the season, just over three months ago, the teams were widely tipped to be the two favorites for the league championship, but everything possible has seemingly gone wrong since. The clubs have combined for just seven wins in the first 13 matches of the season and have each already sacked a coach. Saturday's match was a microcosm of Maccabi's and Betar's season so far. Both sides had their moments, playing good soccer at times, but failed to create enough scoring opportunities, and when they did get chances, squandered them miserably. "Our lack of confidence was clearly evident today," Betar coach Reuvan Atar said. "Quality players are turning over simple passes and that becomes contagious." Maccabi coach Avi Nimni has now failed to guide his team to a victory in the last four matches since winning his debut on the sideline. "I'm pleased with our play, but disappointed with the result," said Nimni. "This was our best game of the season. We reach chances but we miss them." Maccabi dominated the first half of the encounter, with Maor Buzaglo playing his best 45 minutes since joining the club over the summer. The Israeli international twice came close to scoring in the 19th and 20th minutes, but his attempts were thwarted by Betar 'keeper Tvrtko Kale. A minute later, a Moshe Mishaelof header direct from a corner kick beat the Croatian, but the crossbar saved the two-time defending champion. Betar improved after the break, finally managing to string together a few passes. However, it was Maccabi which created the best chance of the second half. The 18-year-old Emmanuel Mayuka only had Kale to beat, but shot straight at the 'keeper, and Buzaglo's rebound was cleared by Cristian Alvarez. Maccabi Netanya 0, Maccabi Petah Tikva 0 Also Saturday, Maccabi Netanya coach Lothar Matthaus was sent to the stands during his team's 0-0 draw at Hapoel Petah Tikva. Matthaus wasn't pleased with the refereeing in the first half and was sent off after voicing his frustration to ref Asher Cohen at the break. "I turned to the fourth referee and asked whether there are different rules for home and away team. He called Asher Cohen and he sent me off," explained Matthaus, who will face an Israel Football Association tribunal this week. Cohen had a different version to the incident, writing in his report that the coach confronted him at halftime by the dressing rooms. "We want to go all the way, but for that to happen we need to win," Netanya defender Dedi Ben-Dayan said after the goalless draw in which neither team created any real scoring opportunities. "It's not easy to play in Petah Tikva and I believe many teams will drop points here." Bnei Yehuda 1, Hakoach/Amidar RG 0 Bnei Yehuda claimed its third straight victory on Saturday, defeating Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan 1-0 on the road. Pedro Galvan scored the only goal of the match in the 85th minute and handed Hakoach its fourth consecutive defeat. Bnei Sakhnin 2, Maccabi Petah Tikva 1 Bnei Sakhnin won for the first time under the guidance of Eyal Lachman on Saturday, beating Maccabi Petah Tikva 2-1 at Doha Stadium. Petah Tikva's Boban Grncarov gifted the hosts the lead with an own goal in the 53rd minute, but made amends 15 minutes later, scoring the equalizer. The visitors would leave Sakhnin empty handed, however, with Hamad Ganayem curling in an excellent free kick four minutes from time. Ironi Kiryat Shmona 1, Ashdod SC 1 Shlomi Abisidris scored an injury time goal to give Ironi Kiryat Shmona a 1-1 home draw against Ashdod SC, which went ahead in the 21st minute thanks to a Rogerio dos Santos goal.