Local Soccer: Brilliant Buzaglo saves Mac TA's blushes

Hap TA's 2-0 win at Hap PT closes gap on Mac Netanya, which draws 3-3 at Ashdod.

Maccabi TA soccer 248.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi TA soccer 248.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
A brilliant Maor Buzaglo free-kick saved Maccabi Tel Aviv's blushes in a 1-1 draw at Bloomfield Stadium against Bnei Sakhnin on Saturday night, but Avi Nimni's men still find themselves at the wrong end of the table as the league enters the three-week mid-season break. In other action Saturday, Hapoel Tel Aviv's 2-0 win at Hapoel Petah Tikva closed the gap on second-place Maccabi Netanya, which drew 3-3 at Ashdod SC. Maccabi looked lackadaisical and lethargic against a lively Sakhnin that has undergone a mini-revival under new coach Eyal Lachman. Chances were few and far between in the first half. Ilya Yavruyan linked up with Guillermo Yisraelevich and Yannick Kamanan before his shot was spectacularly blocked by Tal Hen, and Kamanan then mis-hit a Yavruyan cross straight at Sakhnin 'keeper Meir Cohen. Ten minutes after the break, a great Cohen save kept out Yisraelevich's header before Sakhnin went straight up the other end to take the lead. Awudu Okocha chested down Tal Hen's long ball to Yehiel Tzagai, whose precise return pass was rolled into the net with aplomb by the Ghanaian. Maccabi then piled on the pressure and just about deserved Buzaglo's 72nd-minute equalizer, but Nimni's opposite number was definitely the happier of the two coaches. "It's certainly a very good result," said Lachman, although he called for more "patience and cleverness" going forward. Nimni said he was "very disappointed" with the outcome. "We dropped points today," he lamented. Despite Maccabi's lowly league position, Nimni asserted that he was "not at all sorry" he took the job. "We'll see where we are in May. I'm sure it will be in a different spot," he said. "I trust my players here," continued the Maccabi coach, although admitting that "there may be the odd change or two." Ashdod SC 3, Maccabi Netanya 3 Outstanding attacking play and diabolical defending has been the story of Ashdod's season so far. Yossi Mizrahi's men have scored the same number of goals as league leader Maccabi Haifa, but have let in just one less than bottom side Hakoach. The home team started brightly and deservedly took the lead after 15 minutes. David Revivo played the ball across to Rahamim Tzukul on the left of the penalty area and the Ashdod youngster played a wonderfully weighted pass to Adir Tubul, who finished through Netanya 'keeper Liran Strauber's legs. Ashdod's second was an absolute cracker. Lior Reuven chipped the ball forward to Revivo who drove forward from the half-way line and let fly with a sensational 30-meter shot which flew past the diving Strauber and nestled into the top corner. However, Mizrahi's men inexcusably lost their lead before half-time. On 40 minutes, Itai Shechter smashed the ball in from close range after Luis Marin had headed down a Dedi Ben-Dayan cross, and three minutes later, Maor Zohar knocked Ben-Dayan's attempt into his own net after Ashdod 'keeper Yossi Shekel missed a Shalev Menashe free-kick. Man-of-the match Revivo thought he'd won the game for the hosts when he slotted in a Baruch Dago cross on 82 minutes, but Ben-Dayan smashed a Snir Gueta knock-down into the roof of the net with a minute left. Hapoel Petah Tikva 0, Hapoel Tel Aviv 2 Hapoel Tel Aviv continued to impress on Saturday evening with a comfortable victory at Hapoel Petah Tikva. The opening goal came on 33 minutes when Yigal Antebi collected a Gili Vermuth pass just inside the Petah Tikva half, ran on unchallenged and fired the ball into the corner. Petah Tikva's Yossi Rozen received his marching orders midway through the second half when he picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Shai Abutbul. Eli Gutman's men sealed the win 12 minutes from time. Omri Canada flicked the ball on to Vermuth who rode two tackles on the edge of the box before nonchalantly placing the ball to Shavit Elimelech's left. Ironi Kiryat Shmona 0, Bnei Yehuda 2 It was a disappointing debut for Kiryat Shmona's new coach Eli Cohen who saw his side go down at home to a resurgent Bnei Yehuda. The visitors took an early lead when Dean Mori slammed the ball in from 11 meters after a Pedro Galvan center. Guy Luzon's men wrapped up the points with 15 minutes remaining. Kfir Edri's cross deflected off Assi Baldout and the ball broke to Galvan, who smashed it in from 14 meters.