Local soccer: Betar recovers, beats Hapoel Petah Tikva 2-0

Boateng and Tamuz secure 2-0 win; Other results: Mac. Petah Tikva 1, Bnei Yehuda 0; Mac. Herzliya 1, Hap. Kfar Saba 2; Mac. Netanya 1, Hakoah Amidar R-G 0.

betar jerusalem 298.88 (photo credit: www.beitar-jerusalem.net)
betar jerusalem 298.88
(photo credit: www.beitar-jerusalem.net)
Betar Jerusalem was temporarily replaced at the top of the Premier League standings on Saturday. After Maccabi Petah Tikva jumped into first place by defeating Bnei Yehuda 1-0 in the afternoon, Betar responded with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Hapoel Petah Tikva at Teddy Stadium. Derek Boateng and Toto Tamuz both scored powerful second-half headers to ensure that the yellow-and-black remained a point ahead. Jerusalem head coach Yossi Mizrahi made some drastic changes to the starting lineup that lost at Maccabi Petah Tikva last week, moving the much-criticized Omri Afek into midfield with Yoav Ziv replacing Afek at right back. Talented youngster Aviram Bruchian started in midfield, while veteran left back David Amsalem came in for Roni Gafni and strikers Amit Ben-Shushan and Toto Tamuz opened the game on the bench. The visitors put up a good fight for the first 70 minutes, forcing the Betar defense to make some strong challenges, but it was the introduction of Tamuz and Ben-Shushan in the second half which changed the shape of the game and drove the home side to victory. "I feel very good to be back in the starting lineup," Amsalem told The Jerusalem Post. "After the game last week, I felt the players didn't feel very good, but today I think the difference was that everyone gave 100 percent." Bruchian had the first chance of the game seven minutes in, skipping into the area and placing an angled shot which went achingly wide. Petah Tikva's first opportunity came by the way of a free kick taken just outside the penalty area by Maor Bozaglo in the 12th minute, but it sailed over the bar. At the start of the second half, Mizrahi replaced the ineffective Afek with Tamuz and then brought Ben-Shushan in 15 minutes later. The breakthrough finally came 20 minutes before the end. Ben-Shushan spread the ball to Michael Zandberg, on the left side of the penalty area, who crossed for Boateng to head in the goal. Ben-Shushan was also involved in the second goal, crossing from the right hand side for Tamuz. Reigning champion Maccabi Haifa, fresh off Thursday's UEFA Cup win over Partizan Belgrade, takes on arch-rival Maccabi Tel Aviv at Bloomfield Stadium on Sunday night. Tel Aviv is riding an impressive four-match winning streak. Haifa has a few injury worries entering the game, including key midfielder Xavier Dirceo, who is suffering from a nagging injury. The Brazilian's replacement, Abas Suan, is also lacking match fitness and will be a game-time decision. Roni Levy is expected to start with the same lineup he used on Thursday. Matchday 10 concludes on Monday, when Hapoel Tel Aviv visits Ashdod SC. Maccabi Petah Tikva 1, Bnei Yehuda 0 The "Luzons" were eager to build on their impressive win over Betar Jerusalem last week, but had to work hard to find the winner. Bnei Yehuda coach Nitzan Shirazi fielded a defensive formation in the tough away game, which resulted in a lackluster first half that ended in a goalless deadlock. Petah Tikva worked hard in midfield, looking to create chances for forwards Omer Golan and Patrick Suffo. But it was Nigerian Blessing Kaku who scored the winner in the 79th minute, which came after a slick solo dribble past the Bnei Yehuda defense. Maccabi Herzliya 1,Hapoel Kfar Saba 2 Kfar Saba came out in an attacking formation, looking for the breakthrough with well-crafted attacks through the flanks. The hard work paid off in the 17th minute, when Brazilian striker Jose Duarte made the most of a mixup near the goal and tapped in from close range. The visitors kept pressing ahead after the first goal and doubled their lead in the opening stages of the second half. Avi Avinu made a swift run in midfield and crossed the ball into the Herzliya box. Samuel Yeboah breezed past his marker and provided an accurate header to make it 2-0 in the 49th minute. Papi Kimoto pulled one back in the 80th minute, but the hosts failed to find the equalizer in the dying minutes. Maccabi Netanya 1,Hakoah Amidar R-G 0 The yellows welcomed back Mazua Ensombo, who returned to Premier League action from a leave of absence due to personal reasons. But the team failed to create chances for its attackers, falling prey to Uri Malmilian's trademark man-marking formation. Netanya coach Eli Gutman inserted playmaker Shai Biruk at the start of the second half, which helped the team break through the Ramat Gan rearguard on numerous occasions. Dedi Ben-Dayan gave the hosts the lead in the 79th minute with a close-range header, which was eventually enough for the win.