Maccabi Netanya handed Maccabi Haifa its third defeat of the season on Monday night, winning 2-0 to close to within three points of the league-leader. First-half goals by Itai Shechter and Alberto Blanco were more than enough to beat a very poor Haifa side, which played nothing like the team that has topped the table for most of the season. Netanya, which leapfrogged Hapoel Tel Aviv into second position, dominated the proceedings from the start and could have well won by a bigger margin, had it taken advantage of its opportunities. The visitors were especially disappointing on defense, gifting Netanya scoring chances time and again. Next week, Netanya visits Betar Jerusalem at Teddy Stadium in a match which will have significant bearing on both teams' championship hopes. On Monday, Netanya scored with its first chance of the match in the seventh minute. Shechter blocked Anderson West's clearance and raced towards Nir Davidovich's goal. However, it then seemed as though he wasted the opportunity when he released a poor left-footed shot, but the ball inexplicably went into the back of the net through the Haifa 'keeper's legs. Haifa showed none of the ability which took it to the top of the standings and, in the 23rd, Blanco doubled the lead. The visitors failed to cope with a Netanya free-kick and Blanco picked up the rebound on the edge of the area and struck a powerful shot into the bottom right corner of Davidovich's net.