Shechter hat-trick lifts Hapoel TA to victory

Reds rout floundering Ramat Hasharon 5-0, with three of day’s five matches ending in goalless deadlocks.

Hapoel Tel Aviv's Itay Shechter 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Tel Aviv's Itay Shechter 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
After failing to find the back of the net in four of its first six Premier League matches, Hapoel Tel Aviv took its frustration out on the sorry Hapoel Ramat Hasharon on Saturday, registering a 5-0 victory, with Itay Shechter scoring a hat-trick.
Had it not been for Shechter’s wastefulness, Hapoel would have surely beaten Beitar Jerusalem last week. However, the Reds went on to lose 1-0 to their nemesis, causing coach Ran Ben-Shimon to declare that his team never meant to challenge Maccabi Tel Aviv for the championship this season.
Ben-Shimon claimed on Saturday that his comments were blown out of proportion and he breathed a huge sigh of relief after his team’s easy win over rock-bottom Ramat Hasharon.
Gili Vermut gave Hapoel the lead in the 11th minute with his first goal since last December thanks to a Shechter assist and the striker also provided the crucial pass for Omer Damari’s 26th-minute strike.
Shechter then found the back of the net himself in the 38th minute before scoring twice more in the second half (73, 83) to complete his second career hat-trick and silence his critics after last week’s frustrating performance.
Ramat Hasharon lost its seventh straight match since the start of the season, with its combined goal difference plummeting to 2-20.
Nevertheless, Ben-Shimon refused to take Saturday’s win for granted.
“I’m delighted because this was a very important win for us,” said Ben- Shimon. “Ramat Hasharon gave Maccabi Tel Aviv a real hard time before losing 1-0 last week.”
Hapoel Beersheba came back from twogoals down to draw 2-2 at Ashdod SC on Saturday.
After beginning the season with four straight victories, Beersheba has failed to record a win in its past three matches, although coach Elisha Levy was pleased his team at least avoided a defeat on Saturday.
A Yero Bello brace (2, 28) put Ashdod in pole position, but Elyaniv Barda handed Beersheba a lifeline in the 35th minute and Maor Buzaglo’s clever free kick in the 72nd minute secured the southerners a point.
Beitar Jerusalem failed to build on last week’s win over Hapoel Tel Aviv, drawing 0-0 at Hapoel Acre.
The kickoff to the match was delayed by 50 minutes after Beitar’s bus broke down on the way up north. Beitar’s build-up play also broke down time and again in Acre, although Jerusalem can at least draw encouragement from its third straight clean sheet.
“We controlled the second half, but couldn’t convert our chances,” said Beitar coach Eli Cohen. “We weren’t creative enough and the only thing I take from this match is the point.”
Also Saturday, Bnei Yehuda snapped its five-game losing streak, drawing 0-0 with Hapoel Ra’anana, with Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Maccabi Petah Tikva also picking up one point each after a goalless deadlock.
On Sunday, Maccabi Haifa will look to rebound from Thursday’s disappointing 3-2 Europa League loss at PAOK Thessaloniki when it hosts Hapoel Haifa in the derby at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.
Maccabi Tel Aviv, which lost 2-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt in Europa League action on Thursday, welcomes Bnei Sakhnin to Bloomfield Stadium on Monday.