Local Soccer: Hap TA denied by last-gasp penalty

Ugly scenes at Bloomfield after captain Badir argues over spot-kick decision.

Yaboah hapoel tel aviv kiryat shmona 248 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Yaboah hapoel tel aviv kiryat shmona 248
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
A controversial 87th-minute penalty gave struggling Ironi Kiryat Shmona a vital 1-1 draw at Hapoel Tel Aviv on Saturday evening as the home side missed a wonderful opportunity to close the gap on second-placed Maccabi Netanya. In other action Saturday, Betar Jerusalem moved up to fourth place in the table with a 3-0 win at home over bottom side Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan and Ashdod SC annihilated Hapoel Petah Tikva 4-1. Maccabi Tel Aviv's disappointing season continued with a 0-0 draw at Maccabi Petah Tikva. Hapoel Tel Aviv had the better of the first-half chances at Bloomfield Stadium, with Bibras Natcho shooting over from a Douglas da Silva pass and then testing Kiryat Shmona 'keeper Danny Amos from distance. The hosts continued to dominate in the second half, although Ironi looked dangerous on the break, with the lively Yuval Avidor causing problems for the Hapoel backline. The opening goal finally came in the 73rd minute. Da Silva found Dimitar Telkiyski on the right and the Bulgarian crossed the ball for Yeboah to rise majestically and head it into the left-hand corner. But just when the Hapoel fans were thinking it was game over, three minutes from time linesman Shimon Gvir flagged, claiming that Walid Badir had pulled Avidor's shirt when the two challenged for a cross in the penalty area. The furious Hapoel players surrounded the officials, leading to a red card for Elin Topuzakov and a yellow for captain Badir in the ensuing melee. Salah Hasarma smashed home the penalty to the delight of the away fans, who should have seen their team snatch all three points in injury time. Avidor raced through and chipped the ball over Hapoel 'keeper Vincent Enyeama, but Da Silva cleared it off the line. There were ugly scenes after the match when referee Meir Levi and Gvir were pelted with objects thrown by the home crowd, while Hapoel coach Eli Gutman vented his anger at the linesman. Gutman called Gvir's decision "disgusting," expressing his bewilderment at how he could have possibly spotted the alleged offense from where he was standing. Gutman claimed Hapoel had lost six points already this season due to linesmen's errors. Ashdod SC 4,Hapoel Petah Tikva 1 Ashdod moved up to a respectable fifth place in the standings on Saturday with an impressive win at home to Hapoel Petah Tikva. The hosts went 2-0 up inside the first 15 minutes. Idan Shriki found the net after a precise pass by David Revivo, before Dimitar Makriev spanked a cross by Lior Reuven into the net after a poor clearance by Hapoel Petah Tikva stopper Shavit Elimelech. Ten seconds after the break, substitute Emmanuel Banahene scored from close range to pull a goal back for Hapoel, but a minute later, the hosts restored their two-goal advantage when Shriki finished off a wonderful run from the left with a great strike into the corner that gave Elimelech no chance. Revivo sealed the victory 19 minutes from time with an 18-meter free kick. Betar Jerusalem 3, Hakoach Ramat Gan 0 Don't write off Betar Jerusalem just yet. The reigning champion hauled itself back to within touching distance of the leading pack on Saturday night with a comfortable victory against lowly Hakoach. The hosts went in front after 11 minutes with a brilliant Barak Itzhaki scissor-kick from a Dario Fernandez cross, and doubled its lead seven minutes later when Itzhaki left a Michael Zandberg center and right back Cristian Alvarez drove the ball into the bottom corner. Amit Ben-Shushan got the third for Betar in injury-time, capitalizing on an Aviv Hadad slip to smash the ball high into the net after Moshe Ohayon had played it through. Maccabi Petah Tikva 0, Maccabi Tel Aviv 0 The Maccabis of Petah Tikva and Tel Aviv shared the points on Saturday afternoon in a 0-0 bore draw in which the only notable incidents were the first-half sending off of Tel Aviv's Shiran Yeini for two bookable offences and a last-minute red card for Petah Tikva's Liran Cohen. Maccabi coach Avi Nimni blamed his side's poor performance on Yeini's red card. "Our game was disrupted when Yeini was sent off. Naturally, the game deteriorated slightly and afterwards it was difficult to get back," he said. "We'll keep working hard," he continued. "There are many young players who are playing a part in our squad and we are pleased about that. We don't have many options for changes, although there will be changes."