Mac TA back atop table with Betar draw

After humdrum opening half in Ramat Gan, Atar and Moyal trade tallies for 1-1 final.

 Maccabi Tel Aviv's Eliran Atar  (center) 370 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv's Eliran Atar (center) 370
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv returned to the top of the Premier League standings on Monday night, drawing 1-1 with Betar Jerusalem at a wet and windy National Stadium in Ramat Gan.
A sensational solo effort by Eliran Atar gave the yellow-and-blue a deserved lead in the 51st minute, but Kobi Moyal leveled the score 11 minutes later, meaning Maccabi leapfrogged Hapoel Tel Aviv into first place on goal differential.
“I think we had many chances to score but we didn’t score and they scored with their only chance from a set piece,” said Maccabi coach Oscar Garcia.
Betar coach Eli Cohen was happy with claiming a point.
“We didn’t show up, but I’m pleased with the result because Maccabi was in control,” admitted Cohen.
Around 28,000 fans attended the match at Ramat Gan, where Betar hosted the contest after being punished to play two matches away from Teddy.
Maccabi thought it should have been awarded a penalty in the seventh minute when Dino Skvorc bundled Munas Dabbur over in the box, but Daniel Bar Natan rejected the yellow-and- blue’s claims.
That proved to be the highlight of a drab first half, with Maccabi controlling the possession, but Betar ‘keeper Ariel Harush never really having to make a difficult save.
However, it took Atar just five second-half minutes to spark life into the match.
Atar picked up the ball on the left flank before slicing towards the box and releasing an unstoppable effort into the top right corner for his 13th league goal in 12 matches this season.
Betar created little to nothing in the first hour of the encounter, but Moyal made the most of his chance when he got it in the 62nd minute.
Hen Azriel’s corner caught Maccabi’s defense napping and Moyal advanced unmarked to the near post to head in the equalizer.
Also Monday, reigning-champion Ironi Kiryat Shmona notched up its third straight victory, beating Bnei Sakhnin 3-1 on the road.
Sakhnin took the lead with the match not even one minute old thanks to Aleksandar Davidov’s goal, but Kiryat Shmona would turn the encounter on its head in the second half.
Shimon Abu-Hazeira leveled the score two minutes after the break and defender Itzik Cohen completed the comeback in the 62nd minute.
Abu-Hazeira clinched the three points and took his personal tally over the three-game winning streak to five goals with another strike five minutes from time, also ensuring Kiryat Shmona climbed up to fourth place.