Second-half blitz lifts Betar past Hap TA

Two goals in six second half minutes gives Betar Jerusalem a 3-2 victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Betar Jerusalem 370 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Betar Jerusalem 370
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Two goals in six second half minutes gave Betar Jerusalem a 3-2 victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv in an action-packed encounter at Teddy Stadium on Monday night.
The presence of former Hapoel owner, and potentially future Betar boss, Eli Tabib, made all the headlines ahead of the match, but he was quickly forgotten, with Jerusalem taking just 95 seconds to make the breakthrough through Amit Ben-Shushan.
Tal Ben-Haim scored a deserved equalizer six minutes from the break and Hapoel completed the comeback against the run of play in the 65th minute thanks to Toto Tamuz’s bullet from a tight angle.
However, Tamuz was controversially sent off for a second yellow card moments later for provoking Betar fans and the match turned on its head.
John Paintsil scored an own goal in the 71st minute before substitute Hen Azriel beautifully curled the ball into the top right corner five minutes later to secure Jerusalem’s second straight win.
Betar settled for protecting its lead after Ben-Shushan’s opener, but it was punished in the 39th minute when Hanan Maman’s pass sliced the Jerusalem defense courtesy of a slight deflection and left Ben-Haim with the simple task of rounding ‘keeper Ariel Harush and tapping in the equalizer.
Eli Cohen’s halftime talk must have made a real impression on the Betar players as they dominated proceedings after the break, with Ofir Kriaf, Ben-Shushan and Eran Levy all squandering golden opportunities.
However, Tamuz blasted Hapoel back into the lead in the 65th minute before referee Orel Grinfeld decided that the striker deserved a second yellow card for putting his finger to his mouth to silence the crowd in his goal celebration.
The sending off gave Betar the boost it was looking for and the hosts clinched the win with two goals in six minutes.
With Azriel pressuring him from behind, Paintsil bundled Shay Hadad’s cross into the back of his own net in the 71st minute and Azriel gave Betar all three points with a superb finish five minutes later.
Also Monday, Ironi Kiryat Shmona snatched a 1-1 draw against Hapoel Beersheba despite playing with 10-men from the 20th minute of the match.
Beersheba took the lead after nine minutes thanks to Tomer Swisa’s superb curling free kick from 20 meters out and the visitors were in complete control following Elad Gabai’s sending off for a second yellow card in the 20th minute for a blatant dive.
However, Shimon Abu Hazeira equalized for Kiryat Shmona from the penalty spot four minutes into the second half after being brought down in the box and the reigning-champion rode its luck for the remainder of the game to hold on for a point.