Maccabi TA mounts fightback to remain 1st

Yellow-and-blue come back from 1-3 down to beat R. Hasharon 4-3 in 79th minute.

MACCABI TEL AVIV striker Roberto Colautti 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
MACCABI TEL AVIV striker Roberto Colautti 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv retained its place atop the Premier League standings in scintillating fashion on Saturday night, coming back from 1-3 down in the second half to beat Hapoel Ramat Hasharon 4-3.
Maccabi seemed to be heading towards its third straight defeat after falling 2-0 behind in the 39th minute. Ramat Hasharon reestablished its two-goal cushion four minutes into the second half after the yellow-and-blue pulled a goal back on the brink of halftime.
However, Maccabi showed the character of a champion by scoring three times in 17 minutes, with Roberto Colautti’s goal in the 79th minute clinching the win.
“It is a very good game for the fans but not for the coaches,” said relieved Maccabi coach Oscar Garcia. “We played in the second half the way I like my team to play. I think the first 30 minutes were the worse I have seen from my team.”
Maccabi’s lax defending allowed Ran Itzhak to give the hosts the lead in the eighth minute and a rare mistake by goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama gifted Ramat Hasharon’s Asi Baldut the second goal of the night.
Munas Dabbur got Tel Aviv back into the match with a header in the 45th minute, but the visitors found themselves two goals down once more after Itzhak found the back of the net yet again four minutes into the second half.
But Maccabi fought on.
Gonzalo Garcia made it 3-2 in the 63rd minute and Eliran Atar equalized with his 10th goal in 11 matches 12 minutes later before Colautti secured all three points.
Ashdod SC was in first place for a couple of hours after beating Hapoel Ramat Gan 1-0 earlier Saturday.
Israel Rosh scored the winner in the 35th minute and Ashdod can still climb into first should it win its game in hand against Hapoel Acre, which was postponed last week due to the rocket fire from Gaza.
Also Saturday, Hapoel Haifa remained in last position after only managing a 0- 0 draw against Hapoel Acre, while the match between Bnei Sakhnin and Maccabi Netanya also ended in a goalless deadlock.
Yuval Avidor missed a penalty for Haifa in the 30th minute.
“I will fight until the last moment,” said Haifa coach Nir Klinger. “I began my career as a winner and I will end it as a winner.”
Bnei Yehuda welcomes Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Sunday.
On Monday, Hapoel Tel Aviv hosts Hapoel Beersheba, while the surging Betar Jerusalem faces the sorry Maccabi Hafia, which is set to be guided by youth team coach Arik Benado for a second straight match following the sacking of Reuven Atar.
Roni Steinbach contributed to this report.