Soccer: Kfar Saba comes back to hold Betar J'lem 1-1

What should have been an easy victory for Betar ended in a dramatic draw, after the champion let in a last-minute equalizer.

Betar 298.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Betar 298.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
What should have been an easy victory for Betar Jerusalem at Kfar Saba in the Premier League on Sunday ended in a dramatic 1-1 draw, after the champion let in a last-minute equalizer at the Levita Stadium in Kfar Saba. Jerusalem went ahead after 17 seconds when a Kfar Saba defensive mix-up rebounded off Betar striker Romulo into the net. Although the visiting team was in complete control for the entire first half and most of the second, it rarely threatened the Kfar Saba goal. The yellow and black was made to pay in the 90th minute when Guy Dayan fired in a stunning free kick from outside the penalty area. Once again Gal Alberman was by far the best player on the pitch and the only Jerusalem player who managed to retain control over his passing and tackling. The visitors were far too strong for Kfar Saba for the majority of the 90 minutes, but all too often gave the ball away with sloppy decision making. The opening goal was one of the more bizarre of the season. Michael Zandberg lofted a pass into the penalty area which had the Kfar Saba defense at sixes and sevens. In the end Romulo didn't seem to notice what had happened until he realized he had scored and wheeled away with a massive smile on his face after scoring his 11th of the season. Jerusalem had its chances, but wasted them time and again. Ten minutes later Zandberg should have made it 2-0 when right back Cristian Alvarez passed the ball to the midfielder in the area, but his shot went way over the bar. Romulo had a poke from a free kick after a quarter of an hour, forcing a save from Kfar Saba 'keeper Ohad Levita. Betar kept the pressure up for the rest of the half, but its only real scoring opportunity came on the half hour when Levita made an impressive double save, first from Amit Ben-Shushan and then Romulo from the rebound. For most of the second half Jerusalem appeared not to bother trying and the introduction of regular substitute striker Toto Tamuz after Ben-Shushan went off injured only showed how much Tamuz's form has dropped this season. Betar only appeared to wake up and battle for a second after Dayan scored from the free kick, but it was too late. Considering second-placed Maccabi Netanya's 0-0 draw with Bnei Yehuda on Saturday, the result did little to prevent Betar cruising to a second successive league title. But the champion will have to improve dramatically if it is to make any inroads into Europe next season.