Local soccer: Tamuz comes through for Betar

Betar Jerusalem sets blistering pace early in match, and Tamuz tallies twice as the team regains top spot with a shutout against Bnei Yehuda.

toto tamuz 88 (photo credit: )
toto tamuz 88
(photo credit: )
Betar Jerusalem returned to the top of the Israeli Premier League standings on Sunday night with a tense 2-0 win over Bnei Yehuda at Bloomfield Stadium. Toto Tamuz scored in each half to seal the win for the yellow-and-black. Betar was looking for a victory after being shoved off the top spot by Petah Tikva on Saturday. Regular Betar starter Omri Afek was consigned to the bench after poor performances in recent games and replaced in midfield by Chilean Milovan Mirosevic. For Bnei Yehuda, former Betar striker Lior Asulin looked ready to face the club he left at the end of last season. But it was his opposite number Tamuz who was the star of the match, constantly troubling the hosts' defense with darting runs and clever passes, especially in the second half when he linked up with fellow national team player Amit Ben-Shushan, who came on for Brazilian Joano Pinto. The game started at a quick pace. Just two minutes in, the yellow-booted Tamuz showed Bnei Yehuda his intentions with two stinging shots that forced saves from Nigerian goalkeeper Winston Anayma. And a minute later, Bnei Yehuda replied with a sweet passing movement which ended with a strong effort from Barak Badash. The opportunities signaled that it would be an open, attacking game from both teams desperate for the three points. On nine minutes, a clever back heel from Tamuz put Milovan Mirosevic through, forcing another save from Anayma. And 13 minutes in, Bnei Yehuda had a penalty appeal turned down when Reuven Oded appeared to be brought down in the box by Derek Boateng, incensing the local crowd. After a pulsating opening quarter of an hour, the game soon settled down as both defenses held strong. Michael Zandberg appeared off the pace for the visitors, constantly playing wayward passes and giving the ball away. But Zandberg made amends in the 38th minute when his movement in the area opened up space for Tamuz, who slotted home to put the visitors in the lead. In the second half, the game opened up as both teams created a number of opportunities. Badash missed a golden chance to even the score four minutes into the second period when he was put clean through, but he scuffed his shot wide of the left post. Betar defender Shimon Gershon nearly helped the visitors go further ahead when he broke through the middle and put it on a plate for Tamuz, but the striker's shot went wide of the post. On 58 minutes, Nitzan Shirazi brought Eli Biton on for Badash, but he couldn't help the team in orange make the breakthrough. In the 84th minute, Tamuz was on the end of a shot by Ben-Shushan which looked to be heading wide, sealing the result for the visitors.