Football Israel Ligat Ha’Al Round 1 September 13-15

Beitar Jerusalem & Hapoel Beer Sheva draw as Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Maccabi Petach Tikva 3-0 Sunday night & Maccabi Haifa played their first game at the new Sami Ofer Stadium in Haifa on Monday against Bnei Sakhnin!

Maccabi Haifa 4-2 Bnei Sakhnin

Maccabi Haifa opened their season off at the brand new Sammy Ofer Stadium with a 4-2 win over Bnei Sakhnin in front of a sold out crowd of 30K! The stadium atmosphere was unbelievable feeling like one was at the Juventus Stadium in Torino, Italy with supporter noise, flags and fun! Haifa didn’t have a great first half though Hen Ezra had the first league goal in the new stadium for Maccabi, but the club turned on the gas in half number 2 playing spectacular football and receiving goals from Ruben Rayos with a brace & Shimon Abuhetzira chipping in for one as well! Bnei Sakhnin goal scorers were Ioannis Papadopoulos & Ahmed Nayea but was just not enough.

Hapoel Beer Sheva 1-1 Beitar Jerusalem

Sometimes the trips down to the desert city are disappointing this one was not as Beitar picked up a well earned point against one of the top teams in the league. The Jerusalem side outplayed Beer Sheva for many stretches during the match with terrific play from youngster Lidor Cohen & Eli Dasa who were consistently making fine runs and creating opportunity after opportunity.

Beer Sheva scored a quick goal off a typical Maor Bozaglo free kick finding William Suarez coming in off the far side to knock the ball home to make it 1-0 after only 5 minutes. Beitar continued to press and their efforts finally paid off when Zarko Korac scored on a penalty in the 67th minute to even the match up.

Beitar continued to press on but couldn’t find the winning strike but left Wassermil stadium with one point in hand and a date with Maccabi Haifa next Monday night in Jerusalem where a crowd of over 25K supporters are expected to be on hand for the first home game of the season.

Maccabi Petach Tikva 0-3 Maccabi Tel Aviv

The champions began the year off with a convincing win at the Moshava Stadium Sunday night as Pako Ayestaran picked up his first win in the Ligat Ha’Al. Maccabi Tel Aviv is looking to win their third league championship in a row and after last night’s game their seems little to convince one that the results may be otherwise. Mahran Radi scored the 1st goal for the visitors as Eran Zahavi & Rada Prica also notched goals in the 2nd half of the match. Petach Tikva coach Ran Ben Shimon said after the game that his club was able to keep pace with the champions for the first half but then the experience of MTA took over.

Hapoel Tel Aviv 1-0 Maccabi Netanya 

Hapoel Tel Aviv started the season off on the right foot picking up a win in the first match of the season in the Ligat Ha’Al on an own goal in the 24th minute a Gili Vermut ball went in off of Romannian Cristian Sirghi. Ariel Harush had his maiden start for Netanya after spending his career with Beitar Jerusalem. Hapoel Technical Director Eyal Berkovic was pleased with the result as was coach Asi Domb as Reds management gave out tickets for the Lady Gaga performance later that evening in Ramat Gan to celebrate the victory!

Ashdod 0-0 Kiryat Shemona

Ashdod gave out free tickets to this match as the southern town was bombarded fors days us ring the Hamas war and unfortunately the fans got what they paid for. A lot of nothing. Yero Bello was issued a red card in the 38th minute while Alex Davidov received one in minute 87 as did Kiryat Shemona substitute Tuavo Pinas. Ashdod head coach Nir Klinger and his assistant Guy Tzarfati also were sent the stands by referee Eitan Shmuelivitz as both sides split the points.

Hapoel Akko 1-1 Hapoel Haifa

Hapoel Akko opened the year in front of 2800 fans where they witnessed Tzion Tzemach coming in as a 72nd minute substitute and scoring the tying goal just 1 minute later! But then the unthinkable happened as he went off in the 77th injured back to the bench. Hapoel Haifa had few chances and didn’t show much as they received their goal from a Mindaugus Kalonas penalty in the 59th minute.

Hapoel Raanana 4-0 Hapoel Petach Tikva

In a battle of the clubs who may be fighting to stay up and avoid relegation in Ligat Ha’Al Raanana put the absolute smack down on Petach Tikva drowning Hapoel 4-0. Snir Shuker, Emanuel Mbola, Eli Babayev & Thiam Mamadou. Anthony Nwakeme picked up two assists as he continues to shine for Raanana after a wonderful season last year. Hapoel Petavh Tikva have now given up 10 goals in their last two competitive matches.