Mac TA shows Acre no mercy in 5-goal trashing

Yellow-and-blue extends streak to five wins in a row, Hap TA hits new low with Sakhnin setback.

Maccabi Tel Aviv celebrates 370 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv celebrates 370
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv extended its gap at the top of the Premier League standings to seven points in emphatic fashion on Saturday night, while Hapoel Tel Aviv’s dismal campaign got even worse with a humbling defeat at Bnei Sakhnin.
The defending champion made it five wins in a row and 11 victories in 14 matches so far this season with a 5-0 thrashing of Hapoel Acre at Bloomfield Stadium.
The yellow-and-blue battled to a 1-0 win over Hapoel in the derby last week, but recorded its biggest triumph of the campaign so far on Saturday to pile the pressure on second-placed Hapoel Beersheba, which can close the gap back to four points when it hosts Beitar Jerusalem on Monday.
Eran Zahavi broke the deadlock in the 24th minute and took his tally for the season to a league-best nine goals with his accurate penalty on the stroke of halftime.
However, Acre felt hard done-by at the break, with referee Daniel Bar- Natan reversing his decision to award the visitors a penalty seven minutes from halftime after allegedly being told to do so by fourth official Ziv Adler, who reviewed the incident in a TV replay against the regulations.
Maccabi would nevertheless show no mercy in the second half, with Dor Micha (58), Rade Prica (74) and Gal Alberman (88) completing the rout.
Hapoel Tel Aviv lost any lingering hope it may have had of challenging Maccabi for the title following its fourth consecutive derby defeat. However, Saturday’s 4-0 trouncing at the hands of Bnei Sakhnin means it is quickly losing touch even with the top three.
Sakhnin proved it fully deserves to be in third position in the standings, with a resounding victory over Hapoel. Firas Mugrabi (10) scored the opener after an awful mistake by goalkeeper Boris Kleyman, with Mohamed Kalibat (43) doubling the advantage with a bullet from the edge of the box two minutes from the interval. Mohammad Ghadir (60) collected the ball in his own half and raced all the way to his team’s third goal of the night before Dedi Ben- Dayan (81) scored a rare goal.
“This is a very painful defeat,” said Hapoel coach Ran Ben-Shimon.
“This was one of those dark days. But I’m not going to resign. I have started something here and I want to finish it. Even though the beginning of the season hasn’t been very good, I believe it will be good at the end.”
Sakhnin coach Marco Balbul couldn’t stop smiling at the final whistle.
“We deserved to win by this margin,” he said. “The players deserve every credit for what they achieved today.”
Maccabi Petah Tikva climbed out of the relegation zone on Saturday, beating Hapoel Ra’anana 1-0 courtesy of Diya Saba’s 33rd-minute strike.
Petah Tikva leapfrogged Hapoel Ramat Hasharon, which saw its sixmatch unbeaten streak come to an end with a 3-0 loss at Hapoel Haifa.
Zarko Korac (1, 44, 89) scored a hat-trick for Haifa, which ended a five-game winless streak.
Bnei Yehuda remained rooted to the bottom of the standings, losing 1-0 at Ashdod SC. David Solari broke Bnei Yehuda hearts with the winner one minute from time, handing the club from south Tel Aviv its fifth straight loss and 11th defeat in the past 13 contests.
On Sunday, Maccabi Haifa visits Ironi Kiryat Shmona.