Reds, Greens get back to winning ways

Hapoel TA demolishes Rishon Lezion 6-0; Maccabi Haifa beats Mac Petah Tikva; 3rd-placed Kiryat Shmona blanks Beersheba.

HAPOEL TEL AVIV’S Elroei Cohen 311 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
HAPOEL TEL AVIV’S Elroei Cohen 311
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Tel Aviv rebounded from last week’s disappointing Premier League defeats in emphatic fashion on Saturday night.
Haifa captain Yaniv Katan described last week’s 3-0 home loss to Ironi Kiryat Shmona as the team’s worst since he began playing for the Greens in 1998 and owner Jacob Shahar dropped in on one of the training sessions during the week to scold the players for their disgraceful performance.
They responded on Saturday with a 4-1 win against Maccabi Petah Tikva at National Stadium in Ramat Gan, with Weeam Amasha netting a hattrick, taking his total to 10 goals in 10 league matches so far this season.
“We entered the match on the back of a very embarrassing defeat and for a change we got off to a good start,” Haifa coach Elisha Levy said.
“We needed this win because it gives us confidence and keeps us in the picture.”
“Playing at Maccabi Petah Tikva is usually a difficult match, but we made it easy today.”
Hapoel was humbled in a 2-0 loss at Ashdod SC last week, but it returned to the top of the standings at least for 48 hours on Saturday, thrashing Hapoel Rishon Lezion 6-0 at Bloomfield Stadium, with strike partners Omer Damari and Toto Tamuz each scoring twice.
“I think Hapoel played happy soccer today and that showed in the score line,” Hapoel coach Dror Kashtan said. “I would like to see Hapoel play like this all the time.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv can leapfrog Hapoel back into first place with a win at Bnei Yehuda on Monday.
At Ramat Gan, Amasha gave Haifa the lead with a cool finish as early as the third minute and stole the ball off Petah Tikva’s goalkeeper Liran Strauber just five minutes later to double the advantage.
Dela Yampolsky effectively put the match to rest with a clinical finish in the 36th minute, with Tal Ben-Haim (50) scoring a consolation for the hosts before Amasha (62) completed his hat-trick.
At Bloomfield, Hapoel fans had to wait until the 32nd minute to see their team make the breakthrough.
However, the floodgates would open once Damari slotted in the opener from an Elroei Cohen pass.
Cohen doubled the lead with the goal of the match seven minutes later, bouncing the ball once before sending an unstoppable volley into the top left corner.
Damari secured the three points with an easy tap-in from a Tamuz assist in first half stoppage time and the match was as good as over three minutes into the second half when Rishon’s Hilal Mosa was sent off after being shown a second yellow card.
A Walid Badier goal (50) and a Tamuz brace (71, 90) gave Hapoel its biggest win of the season so far, bringing a smile to Kashtan’s face after a difficult week.
Elsewhere, Ironi Kiryat Shmona is just a single point back of first place after recording its fourth straight league win on Saturday, beating Hapoel Beersheba 3-0 on the road.
Shimon Abu Hazeira (43), Barak Badash (57) and Shlomi Azulai (68) scored for Kiryat Shmona, which is unbeaten in its past eight matches, while Beersheba dropped to its eighth defeat in 10 games.
Bnei Sakhnin’s five-match unbeaten streak came to an end at Hapoel Acre on Saturday, with the locals winning 2-1.
Ohad Kadusi gave Sakhnin the lead (43), before Nicolas Falczuk (55) and Yuval Shabtai (68) completed the comeback for Acre.
Mohammed Kalibat’s stoppage time goal gave Maccabi Netanya a 1-1 home draw against Hapoel Petah Tikva on Saturday, extending Netanya’s unbeaten streak to seven matches.
Yaniv Luzon put Petah Tikva in front in the 64th minute.
Yuval Avidor scored an 89th minute penalty to give Hapoel Haifa a 2-2 draw against Ashdod SC at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium on Saturday. Rodgers Kola (7) and Paty Yeye (64) twice gave the visitors the lead, only for Vladimir Gluscevic (12) and Avidor to twice equalize.
Betar Jerusalem hosts Hapoel Ramat Hasharon on Sunday.