Mac TA holds Kiryat Shmona with late goal

Yellow-and-blue equalize in the 89th minute to draw 1-1 with the league leaders.

Barak Itzhaki 311 (photo credit: (Adi Avishai)
Barak Itzhaki 311
(photo credit: (Adi Avishai)
Ironi Kiryat Shmona increased its lead at the top of the Premier League standings to 10 points on Monday night, but it ended the 1-1 draw against Maccabi Tel Aviv at Bloomfield Stadium frustrated with the final result after conceding an 89th-minute equalizer.
Kiryat Shmona, which picked up its first piece of silverware last week with a victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv in the Toto Cup final, was mediocre at best on Monday, but still took the lead five minutes from the break courtesy of a Shlomi Azulai goal.
Maccabi rarely threatened the visitors, but David Solari’s questionable sending off in the 65th minute gave it the boost it needed, with Barak Itzhaki equalizing late in the match, ensuring the northerners failed to win for just the second time in 12 matches.
“I’m not disappointed with the result, but I am unhappy with the way we played,” said Kiryat Shmona coach Ran Ben-Shimon, whose team still has a comfortable cushion over second-placed Hapoel Tel Aviv.
“I think that considering the way we played it was a fair result. We suffered a significant drop in form, but we to can have our bad days.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv climbed two places to fifth in the table with the point, but coach Nir Levine was upset with Monday’s result.
“I’m very unhappy,” he said. “I think that we deserved to win. We were the better team, but we struggled to create scoring opportunities and when we finally did we failed to convert them.”
Maccabi had the lion’s share of the possession in the first half, but it created little to nothing and it would be the visitors who made the breakthrough.
A minute after Adi Elisha squandered a tantalizing chance from five meters out, Kiryat Shmona broke down Tel Aviv’s defense in three passes to score the opener in the 40th minute.
Adrian Rochet picked out David Solari with a long ball and the Argentinian sent a clever pass through to Shlomi Azulai, who coolly slotted the ball past ‘keeper Barak Levy.
Kiryat Shmona remained in control for the first 20 minutes of the second half, but it found itself with its back against the wall after Solari was sent off in the 65th minute, being given a soft second yellow card for tumbling over Klemi Saban.
Maccabi was in complete control after that and eventually equalized one minute from time.
Guillermo Israilevich’s shot pinballed off the Kiryat Shmona defense and found its way to Barak Itzhaki who scored from close range to give Maccabi a point it largely owes to referee Eli Hakhmon.