Reds blank Mac PT at Bloomfield

Reigning-champion struggled for much of match, but Toto Tamuz made breakthrough in 67th minute and Ben Sahar’s 88th minute goal ensured Hapoel's win.

311_hap TA soccer (photo credit: Associated Press)
311_hap TA soccer
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Hapoel Tel Aviv inched back to within just two points of Premier League-leader Maccabi Haifa on Monday night, defeating Maccabi Petah Tikva 2-0 at Bloomfield Stadium.
The reigning-champion struggled for much of the match, but Toto Tamuz got the breakthrough in the 67th minute and Ben Sahar’s 88th minute goal ensured Hapoel extended its unbeaten streak to 10 matches, of which it has won eight.
“We had an especially tough time in the first half, but we dominated the second half,” Hapoel assistant coach Yossi Abuksis said. “We didn’t create many chances but we converted the ones we had.”
Hapoel had real difficulty creating scoring opportunities in the first half and the visitors surely felt they should have had the lead at the break.
Eight minutes from halftime, Roei Bakal found himself all alone six meters from Tel Aviv’s goal, but he fluffed his shot from Tal Ben-Haim’s cross and Vincent Enyeama didn’t even have to make a save.
Abuksis handed new signing Elroei Cohen his debut at the start of the second half and the hosts finally began to find their rhythm.
Eran Zahavi and Tamuz both came close, but it was Petah Tikva which squandered a golden opportunity to take the lead.
Ben-Haim had only Enyeama to beat after Michael Zandberg’s excellent through ball in the 57th minute, but he rushed his shot and the Nigerian stopper kept the ball out with an instinctive save.
Petah Tikva would of course live to rue its miss, with the hosts scoring the opener 10 minutes later.
Danny Bondarv’s cross from the right eluded the entire Petah Tikva defense and Tamuz was on hand to head in his 11th league goal of the season.
Hapoel secured the three points two minutes from time, with Sahar making the most of Eliran Danin’s defensive blunder, rounding Petah Tikva ’keeper Rubi Levkovich and slotting in his seventh goal in the past eight matches.