Jerusalem no match for league-leader in 5-0 thrashing; Sakhnin surprisingly sacks Dora.
By ALLON SINAI
Maccabi Tel Aviv remained on course for a first Premier League championship since 2003 on Sunday night, trouncing Beitar Jerusalem 5-0 at Bloomfield Stadium to reestablish a 10-point gap at the top of the standings.Second-placed Maccabi Haifa kept the pressure on Maccabi with a 2-1 win at Maccabi Netanya on Saturday. However, the yellow-and-blue responded with an emphatic display, steamrolling the sorry Beitar, which will play in the relegation playoffs and will have to regroup by Wednesday’s State Cup quarterfinal showdown versus Maccabi Haifa.Maccabi Tel Aviv won for the 12th time in 13 home matches this season, claiming its past eight home encounters by a combined goal difference of 31-3.“We have to think only for the next game and to continue in our way,” said placid Maccabi coach Oscar Garcia after seeing his team record its seventh straight win. “I’m very happy and proud of the performance of the team.”Maccabi fans didn’t have to wait long for the opener, with Rade Prica threading a superb pass through to Eran Zahavi, who easily rounded ’keeper Ariel Harush in the ninth minute.The hosts wouldn’t score their second goal of the night until the ninth minute of the second half, with Eliran Atar doing all the hard work before squaring the ball for Prica, who doubled the lead with ease.Four minutes later, Atar’s shot took a deflection off Steven Cohen and left Harush with no chance and substitute Munas Dabbur scored two late goals (84, 86) to hand Beitar its worst defeat since falling 7-0 to Maccabi in May 2001.Advertisement“We fell apart in the second half,” said Beitar coach Eli Cohen. “I’m embarrassed.I’ve never lost a match 5-0 before. All that we have left to do is to lift ourselves from the floor and play like a big club against Haifa in the cup.”Elsewhere, Marco Balbul and Guy Levy are the two main candidates to be named as the new Bnei Sakhnin coach following the sacking of Shlomi Dora on Sunday.Sakhnin dropped to a 2-0 defeat at Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Saturday, extending its winless streak to five matches and leaving it just a single point above the relegation zone.Dora guided Sakhnin to a respectable eighth-place finish last season, but the club’s management lost its patience after Saturday’s defeat and will be hoping to already sign a replacement on Monday.“I was shocked by the decision,” admitted Dora after meeting the players for the last time on Sunday morning. “I told the players that when I took over the club two years ago it was in a desperate situation eight points from safety, but we managed to survive.”
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