Maccabi TA held 2-1 at KS, still looking up at Reds

Colautti 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Colautti 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Ironi Kiryat Shmona handed Maccabi Tel Aviv its second Premier League defeat of the season on Sunday night, beating the yellow-and-blue 2-1 and denying it a return to the top of the standings.
Tel Aviv was well positioned to leapfrog Hapoel Tel Aviv into first place after taking a 1- 0 lead into the break thanks to Roberto Colautti’s 21st minute opener.
However, Kiryat Shmona outplayed Maccabi in the second half and deserved nothing less than all three points, with substitutes Shlomi Azulai (57) and Ahmed Abed (78) securing a memorable comeback for the hosts.
“We were in complete control in the first half, but unfortunately that’s where it stopped,” said Maccabi coach Moti Ivanir, whose team remains in second place, one point behind the Reds.
“We played poorly and they took a gamble that paid off. Anyone who thought that we would put on a show week-in, week-out is mistaken. We would like that to be the case, but we are rebuilding the team and we will have a lot of highs and lows this season.”
Maccabi took the lead with its first real chance of the match.
With Eliran Atar suspended and Barak Itzhaki missing the match through injury, Colautti was given a starting role and once more came up with the goods.
Dor Micha’s excellent cross from the left was not squandered by Colautti, who headed in his fourth league goal in six appearances.
The hosts had their chances to equalize before the break, with Shimon Abu Hazeira clipping the crossbar with his attempt in the 25th minute and Elad Gabai being denied by the woodwork 12 minutes later.
Abu Hazeira only had keeper Guy Haimov to beat six minutes into the second half, but he couldn’t even find the target with his shot.
However, Abu Hazeira made up for his poor finishing in the 57th minute, sending through Azulai, who coolly slotted in the equalizer.
Kiryat Shmona would go on to dominate the remainder of the second half and scored a deserved winner in the 78th minute. Abu Hazeira wasted yet another golden opportunity two minutes earlier, but in the 78th he unselfishly squared the ball for Abed to slot in the winner.