Maccabi Haifa bursts Betar's balloon

Luis Fernandez's bizarre tactical array led to a 3-0 defeat to Betar Jerusalem.

mac haifa 88 (photo credit: )
mac haifa 88
(photo credit: )
Maccabi Haifa ruthlessly dismantled Luis Fernandez's bizarre tactical array with a clinical 3-0 demolition of Betar Jerusalem at Kiryat Eliezer on Sunday night. Betar's Fernandez, coaching the team for the first time, began the match with a peculiar starting lineup that was easily taken apart by a merciless Haifa. Maccabi took the lead early and never looked remotely like relinquishing its lead. It may have been business as usual for top-of-the-table Haifa, which has won 13 of its 14 matches and leads the Premier League by 13 points, but for Betar, which ended the game with nine players, the match was a humbling experience after promising play in previous weeks. Jerusalem was in disarray for most of the match and seemed to bitter miss former coach Ton Caanen, who left the club last week. Fernandez will regret not waiting a little longer to force the resignation of Caanen. Haifa pressured Betar from the start and took the lead in the ninth minute. Yaniv Katan found himself unmarked in the Betar half and slipped the ball to striker Roberto Colautti, who easily shot past 'keeper Itzik Kornfein. Nine minutes later defender Alon Harazi effectively settled the match. Striker Shlomi Arbitman pushed the ball beyond Kornfein and Harazi easily tucked the ball into the empty net for his first goal of the season. In the 41st minute, Betar's situation went from bad to worst. Defender Tomer Ben-Yosef was the last man on defense and after bringing down Colautti outside the box the referee had no option but to send him off. Katan hit a good free kick, but Kornfein was well placed to save the shot. The second half was much like the first with Haifa once again in total control. Colautti almost got his second score of the match, but his shot seven minutes into the second period hit the crossbar. In the 74th minute, Betar found itself two men down as well as two goals down. Eliran Hudeda had no choice but to stop Colautti's goalline shot with his hands and received a red card. Midfielder Idan Tal took the penalty, but Kornfein saved Betar further embarrassment with a save from the penalty spot. Haifa finally got its welldeserved third goal two minutes from time. Colautti ran clear of the Jerusalem defense and once again beat Kornfein easily. As Betar had no shots on goal, Haifa goalkeeper Nir Davidovich will be well rested for his flight on Monday to England. Davidovich will leave for a three-day trial with the English Premier League's Sunderland.