Maccabi Haifa stumbles to draw

Greens booed off pitch at final whistle; fans cry out for the youth team to play in their place.

MACCABI HAIFA captain Yaniv Katan 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
MACCABI HAIFA captain Yaniv Katan 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Haifa coach Reuven Atar said he is ashamed of his team after it remained in the relegation zone on Monday night following a 1-1 draw against Bnei Yehuda at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.
Haifa was desperate to claim its second win of the Premier League season, but it was hopeless yet again and had goalkeeper Bojan Saranov to thank for picking up a single point, taking it to six in eight matches.
The Greens were booed off the pitch at the final whistle and rather than calling for Atar’s head, most fans derided the players and cried out for the youth team to play in their place.
Atar was visibly distraught in his post-match interview, and although he looked lost for answers, he said he would not give up.
“Haifa has reached a catastrophic situation. There is no doubt that this is a deep crisis,” Atar said. “We are disappointed and sad and we will try and make some more changes. Whatever the fans say they are right.
We can only apologize.
“There is no doubt that the coach shoulders a lot of the responsibility for the team’s lack of success, but I never give up and always believe that the situation can be fixed.
“I’m ashamed,” he added.
“But we will continue to do all we can and hopefully we will see better days.”
Haifa got off to the start it was hoping for, with Dino Ndlovu giving the Greens the lead in the ninth minute with an accurate effort from the edge of the box against his former team.
However, Haifa created very little after that and only held the lead until the break thanks to Nenad Marinkovic’s wastefulness in front of goal.
Kestutis Ivaskevicius finally scored a deserved equalizer with a powerful left-footed shot from the edge of the area eight minutes into the second half and Saranov ensured that Haifa at least avoided defeat.
“We have to lift out heads and get back on track,” said Haifa captain Yaniv Katan.
“This is a new situation for us, but it is our fault. We should all be ashamed of how the team is playing. We cannot continue like this.”