Local Soccer: Hap TA closes in on Mac Haifa with 2-0 win

Local Soccer Hap TA clo

Hapoel TA soccer 248.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel TA soccer 248.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Tel Aviv claimed its sixth-straight win and closed to within six points of Maccabi Haifa once more on Monday night, defeating Hapoel Haifa 2-0 at a rainy Bloomfield Stadium. Hapoel's victory was never in doubt after striker Itai Shechter continued his irresistible form, giving the team the lead in the 19th minute with his 11th Premier League goal of the season. The hosts dominated a Haifa team, which has now lost six of its last seven matches, with Avihai Yadin scoring Tel Aviv's second goal in the 74th minute with a fantastic strike from 20 meters out. The home team should have really wrapped up the victory by halftime, and had it been sharper in front of goal would have surely won by a greater margin. However, coach Eli Gutman was more than pleased with seeing his side pick up another three points. "We played well for most of the match," Gutman said. "However, Maccabi Haifa is currently top of the standings so you can not say we are the best team in the country." Hapoel pressured Haifa to its goal from the start, with Shechter going close in the third minute. Eran Zehavi squandered a golden opportunity five minutes later, but in the 19th minute Shechter ensured Tel Aviv took an early lead with a ferocious left-footed strike. Haifa rarely threatened Vincent Enyeama's goal and Eran Levy should have done better when he had time and space on the edge of the area in the 25th minute. The hosts continued to control the possession in the second half and finally clinched the win in the 74th minute. Yadin picked up the ball 30 meters from goal and after taking a couple of steps forward released an unstoppable shot into the top corner to ensure Hapoel won yet again.