Local Soccer: Sakhnin gets the better of Mac TA

Newly promoted team holds off strong second half pressure to win 3-2 and move up to third place in the league.

bnei sakhnin fans 88 (photo credit: )
bnei sakhnin fans 88
(photo credit: )
Bnei Sakhnin proved it is a force to be reckoned with as the first round of games in the Israeli Premier League drew to a close on Sunday night. The team, which was promoted from the National League at the end of last season, scored early, then held off strong second half pressure from Maccabi Tel Aviv to take a 3-2 victory. The result moved Sakhnin back into third place in the top division while Maccabi stayed one point off the bottom ahead of rival Hapoel Tel Aviv, which plays Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Monday. Maccabi Tel Aviv went in 2-0 down at half time. But, despite a spirited second half performance, Maccabi owner Loni Hertzikovitch will know that, if his team continues this form, his club could be relegated for the first time in its history. Sakhnin's Israeli international Maor Buzaglo was already the star of the game after just six minutes, when he set up two goals in two minutes. He later grabbed the third for the hosts in the second half. Sakhnin took the lead in the fourth minute when Buzaglo broke into the Tel Aviv penalty box and crossed for Hamed Ghanaim, who slotted in past Maccabi 'keeper Dragoslav Jevric. Two minutes later the lead was doubled when Ilya Yavruyan scored from a corner which Buzaglo swung in with pinpoint accuracy. Maccabi pushed up in the following quarter of an hour, but wayward passing and a lack of a quality final ball meant Sakhnin was under little pressure. Half an hour into the game Sakhnin had created six efforts on goal while Tel Aviv had just one. Maccabi came out with much more purpose in the second period and began to control the game. Rudy Hadad and Yaniv Azran, two of the many new signings this season, pushed the team forward and the pressure paid off in the 67th minute when Yossi Shivhon headed in from a corner to make it 2-1. The goal opened the game up and Maccabi began to grow in confidence. Three minutes later the visitors had a contentious penalty claim waved away when Ravid Gazal appeared to be brought down in the box. But Sakhnin was not finished yet. Yavruyan broke down the right wing, whipped in a cross and man of the match Buzaglo side footed the ball into the net. With just over 10 minutes to go Tel Aviv pulled one back again when Omri Ron headed in from another corner. Maccabi had chances to equalize, but Cohen proved his worth with some quality saves in the closing minutes.