Riding Champions League wave, Hap TA rights PL ship

Reds smother Hap Ashkelon for 1st Premier League win; Mac Haifa wins ugly against Mac PT

Hapoel August 19 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Hapoel August 19 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
After its shock defeat last week, Hapoel Tel Aviv returned to winning ways in the Premier League in emphatic fashion on Saturday evening, thrashing Hapoel Ashkelon 5-1 at Bloomfield Stadium.
Tel Aviv showed no adverse effects from its nailbiting progress to the Champions League group stage last Tuesday, scoring four goals in 18 first half minutes to effectively clinch the rout.
“We need to know how to separate between our European and league campaigns and we did that tonight,” said Hapoel coach Eli Gutman, who saw his team advance to the group stage of the Champions League for the first time in club history with a 4-3 aggregate victory over Red Bull Salzburg last week. “We need to strengthen the team and I believe that by Tuesday we will bring in 2-3 players.”
Maccabi Haifa claimed its second straight victory on Saturday, but it was far from impressive in its 1-0 win over Maccabi Petah Tikva at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.
Mohammad Ghadir, who scored the winner in last week’s 1-0 win at Maccabi Tel Aviv, found the back of the net once more for Haifa, scoring the only goal of the match in the fifth minute.
However, Haifa was poor after that point, and coach Elisha Levy offered no excuses for his side’s subpar play.
“We took three important points, but we didn’t play well,” said Levy, who wasn’t pleased with his team’s afternoon kickoff time. “It is difficult to play in these conditions. You need to be patient, control the pace and not lose your head. We didn’t do that on the offensive end and that’s why we looked like this.”
Tel Aviv had to play its match in an empty Bloomfield due to a punishment it was handed for its supporters’ unruliness last season, but the hosts needed only five minutes to score the opener and never looked back.
Eran Zehavi was given far too much space in the box and he easily headed past Ashkelon ’keeper Stephen Ahorlu.
In the 16th minute, it became 2-0 after Yossi Shivhon’s strike, and four minutes later, Omri Kende recorded his third assist of the night, picking out Zehvai in the box.
Three more minutes passed and Gili Vermut scored the goal of the match, smashing in an unstoppable volley from 20 meters out.
Ashkelon got a goal back in the 66th minute through Eran Levy’s penalty, but Vermut would seal the comfortable win in the match’s 76th minute, dribbling his way into the box before releasing a left-footed shot into the back of the net.
Hapoel Haifa, which stunned Tel Aviv with a 1-0 victory last week, continued its excellent start to the season on Saturday, beating Hapoel Ramat Gan 2-1.
Ramat Gan, which had its seven point deduction for last season’s financial irregularities reduced to four points by the IFA’s High Court on Thursday, took the lead through Dimitar Telkiyski (20), but Eden Ben- Basat (33) and Sasa Stojanovic (68) ensured Haifa returned home with all three points.
Meanwhile, Bnei Yehuda won its first match under Dror Kashtan on Saturday, defeating Hapoel Beersheba 1-0 on the road thanks to Ilya Yavruyan’s goal (74).
Also Saturday, Ironi Kiryat Shmona drew 2-2 at Ashdod SC, with Moshe Ohayon (44, 55) scoring a brace for the hosts and Wiyam Amashe (10, 81) finding the back of the net twice for Ran Ben-Shimon’s men.
Hapoel Petah Tikva and Hapoel Acre also drew 2-2 on Saturday, with Mohammed Kalibat (45) and a Jonathan Assous (56) own goal twice giving the visitors the lead, only for Dudu Biton (55, 76) to secure a point for Petah Tikva.
Dele Yampolsky gave Maccabi Netanya an early lead (11) at Bnei Sakhnin on Saturday, but Maharan Abu Riyah (58) ensured the match would end all square at 1-1.
Betar Jerusalem hosts Maccabi Tel Aviv at Teddy Stadium in an intriguing encounter on Sunday night in the final match of the weekend.