Local Soccer: Maccabi Tel Aviv gains vital victory in relegation battle

Goals in either half from Yossi Shivhon and Jonathan Assous did justice to Tel Aviv's efforts.

Maccabi Tel Aviv  (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
After Hapoel Tel Aviv's defeat of Maccabi Herzliya on Saturday, Sunday night saw another Tel Aviv team edge away from the dreaded two relegation spots at the bottom of the table. Maccabi Tel Aviv picked up three crucial league points with a hard fought 2-0 win over Ashdod SC at Bloomfield, moving Nir Levin's side one place up in the Israeli Premier League standings to eighth place, five points away from Ashdod, which was left languishing in the drop zone. Goals in either half from Yossi Shivhon and Jonathan Assous did justice to Tel Aviv's efforts. Ashdod had put pressure on the home side throughout the match, particularly towards the end, but failed to capitalize on the opportunities it created. The result will bring some relief for Maccabi's new Canadian owner, Alex Shnaider, who recently pumped more cash into the club. However, Levin knows that however well he does in the coming games, he is unlikely to be coaching the team next season, as Ironi Kiryat Shmona's Ran Ben-Shimon has reportedly agreed a deal to take over. Tel Aviv was far from impressive on Sunday, but points are the most important thing for the club as the season begins to reach its climax, and the players performed in a manner which reflected this. Ashdod was under massive pressure before the game and it was clear the team needed the win. It was the visitors who made the first goalscoring chance, when Moshe Ohayon found himself through on goal 14 minutes in, but his shot went over the bar. Maccabi slowly began to take control, and a few minutes later Dan Roman fired in a fierce long range effort which Ashdod 'keeper Sammy Adjei stretched to save. The first goal came in the 28th minute. Shivhon received the ball from Rudy Hadad and rounded Adjei in the box before slotting home. Tel Aviv kept up the intensity and created more chances as the half wore on and into the second half, while holding off increasing attacks from the visitors. As four minutes of injury time drew to a close, Assous ran on to a pass from Alan Massudi and doubled the lead in the last seconds of the game, confirming the victory.