Local Soccer: Betar returns to winning ways at Ashdod

League leaders win 2-1 with goals from Brazilian striker Romulo and Aviram Bruchian.

Betar Jlem Mac Haifa 224 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Betar Jlem Mac Haifa 224
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
With Maccabi Haifa breathing down their necks, Betar Jerusalem knew a win and three points was practically a necessity against a strong and organized Ashdod SC in Ashdod on Sunday night. After withstanding a few hiccups, including a goal that shouldn't have been, the yellow and black returned to winning ways, practically forcing its way past the home side to win 2-1 and stretch its lead at the top of the table to seven points. A loss would have left Roni Levy's resurgent Haifa too close for comfort and Betar coach Itzhak Schum prepared his team for a battling performance. The result left Ashdod in a precarious position at the bottom of the standings, exacerbated by Hapoel Tel Aviv's win at Herzliya on Saturday, and coach Alon Hazan left the field with the supporters' calls for him to resign ringing in his ears. The Betar goals came from Brazilian striker Romulo, who headed in a Idan Tal cross in the 25th minute and Aviram Bruchian who volleyed in a stinging Toto Tamuz cross. Tamuz himself had had a poor game and was about to be substituted for Amit Ben-Shushan, when he suddenly stormed down the right wing and gave Bruchian a perfect opportunity. David Revivo had scored for Ashdod on the half-hour mark when he whipped in a free kick from well outside the area, although the referee had controversially called the foul on Adir Tabul by Bruchian when it looked more like the Ashdod midfielder had simply fallen over. Shai Holtzman had a golden chance to score an equalizer for the hosts when the ball fell in front of him on the penalty spot with no Betar defenders in sight. But he fluffed his shot with just over ten minutes to go and Ashdod had no other chances to get back into the game.