Beitar Jerusalem had a couple of big wins yesterday both on field and off! Gaining a point back from the Israel FA after appealing a 2 point deduction for racist chants from the supporters, Beitar moved into 4th place after defeating Petach Tikva on the pitch. Lidor Cohen opened the scoring for the visitors while youngster Omer Atzili sealed the deal for Beitar with a fluky goal late in the game. Marwan Kabaa scored just a minute later to cut the lead to one, but it was too littel too late for the home side as Beitar picked up the valuable 3 points on a 4-point day!
Both coaches Marko Balbul & Elisha Levy will out after this season but it was Balbul’s Haifa that dominated the desert city squad 4-0 and edged them closer to an Europa League qualifying berth. Hen Ezra scored a brace while captain Yossi Benayoun and Alon Turgeman each chipped in with a goal to help The Greens playing at home to the blowout win. Beer Sheva will play at Sammy Ofer Stadium on Wednesday night against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Israel State Cup final and if they play as poorly as they did against Haifa it will be a very long evening.
Levy was informed on Thursday by owner Alona Barkat that he will be out of a job and that certainly didn’t help the players in their preparation as John Ogu said that this is crazy! Beer Sheva will be turning over the coaching job to Kiryat Shemona boss Barak Bachar who was also relieved of his duties on Thursday effective immediately. Bachar negotiated behind the back of owner Izzy Sheratzky with whom he had a verbal agreement to stay on to with the club dating back to March.
Petach Tikva coach Menachem Koretzy is already planning for his next season in Israel’s 2nd division Liga Leumit and got off to a good start beating Raanana 4-2. Dor Hugi & Leroy Zeiri opened the scoring for Petavh Tikva as Shoval Gozlan’s brace drew Raanana even. However the home side received two late goals from Dor Jan and Dor Kochav to send Koretzky home happy to end the season.
Shai Abutbul scored from the penalty spot as Michael Seroshtan handled the ball in the box and saw red. Ashdod, needing a win to avoid relegation had a chance to get back into the match on a Aleksander Davidov penalty, but the Reds ‘keeper Tom Almandon made a terrific save to keep a clean sheet. The missed penalty ended any chance for Ashdod to stay up in Ligat Ha’Al and sent Nir Klinger down to the 2nd division.
Netanya came to play and gave Hapoel Haifa all they could handle to end in a 0-0 draw, good enough to keep Haifa in Ligat Ha’Al and not be relegated. Tal Benin’s side were feted by over 5000 fans at home and will live to fight another year in the top division.
Akko already assured of staying in Ligat Ha’Al scored a 3rd minute goal by Elior Seidere to reward their fans with another victory after a very difficult start to the season. Since Shlomi Dura was appointed Akko coach the team has thrived and proved their quality over the last number of months.