Maccabi Haifa opened a four-point cushion at the top of the Premier League standings on Monday, defeating Bnei Yehuda 1-0 at Bloomfield Stadium. Haifa's third win in its last four matches put some breathing space between Elisha Levy's team and Maccabi Netanya, and opened a nine-point gap from third placed Hapoel Tel Aviv. Yaniv Katan scored the only goal of Monday's dull affair in the 27th minute and made sure Haifa will enter next week's match against Betar Jerusalem 11 points in front of the two-time reigning champion. Bnei Yehuda, which had won its last three matches, pushed for a goal right from the start and was the more dangerous team. In the second minute, Asi Baldut's volley was only denied by an excellent Amir Edri save and the Haifa 'keeper was in charge of keeping his side's net empty 10 minutes later as well, clearing a powerful Pedro Galvan effort. As always seems to be the case, wastefulness at one end was quickly punished at the other. Haifa's Thembinkosi Fanteni surged into the hosts box and hit his shot straight at 'keeper Dele Aiyenugba, but Katan was first to the rebound and smashed in the opener. The relatively uneventful first half was followed by an even drearier second period in which scoring opportunities were a real rarity. Bnei Yehuda would, however, create one golden opportunity. Striker Tomer Hemed was unmarked five meters from goal, but could only hit the post with his header in the 63rd minute and Haifa returned home with all three points.