Hapoel Haifa wins their first game of the season as Bnei Sakhnin & Hapoel Tel Aviv draw! Beitar Jerusalem draws with Ashdod & the match of the week featured Maccabi Tel Aviv defeating Maccabi Haifa 3-1 at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv.
Maccabi Tel Aviv 3-1 Maccabi Haifa
Maccabi Tel Aviv showed who was the Ligat Ha’Al boss last night as the yellow & blue took care of Maccabi Haifa in Tel Aviv 3-1. The match featured two foreign coaches with Pako Ayestaran leading the home side and Serbian Aleksandar Stanojević the Greens and both had their players ready for this match after a few weeks off due to the Yom Kippur Holiday & the International break. Tel Aviv began the match by delivering long balls to it’s speedy wingers, Tal Ben Chaim & Eran Zahavi, but the Haifa defense were able to keep them at bay while they produced a number of quality chances of their own.
Referee Orel Greenfield had a difficult time keeping both sides at bay as the opening 20 minutes were very chippy as each side picked up a yellow card and had to warned numerous times to take it easy and calm down. Unfortunately for Haifa, one of the Maccabi long balls finally made it’s way through to Ben Chaim who was pulled down right before entering the box by Eyal Meshumar who saw a straight red card which changed the dimension of the game.
Stanojević was then forced to make a tactical substitution taking off striker Alon Turgeman in favor of defender Matan Ohayon and played with only one striker up front in order to try and stymie the Tel Aviv offense. Ayestaran then made a substitution of his own before halftime taking off the injured Carlos Garcia in favor of striker Barak Badash.
It took a only 7 minutes into the second half until Tel Aviv took a short lived lead as Ben Chaim came down the left side and took a marvelous low shot on goal that Hasifa defender Taleb Tawatcha sliced into his own goal. However, just minutes later Ruben Rayos drew Haifa even scoring on a 59th minute penalty and leaving Tel Aviv in shock.
The shock fortunately wore off very quickly for the home team when Nikola Mitrovic, playing arguably his best game in Israel fed a picture perfect pass to Eran Zahavi who headed it home for a 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish with Eden Ben Basat scoring a fabulous BOMBA of a free kick in the 82nd minute sending the crowd into delirium and collecting the three points allowing MTA to move into 2nd place just behind Kiryat Shemona.
Beitar Jerusalem 1-1 Ashdod
Beitar Jerusalem played a home match at the Moshava Stadium in Petach Tikva last night in front of get this, OVER 8000 supporters! Unfortunately, Beitar was unable to take the 3 points from Ashdod and had to settle for a draw in a match that the “home” side dominated top to bottom. Beitar looked sharp and came into the game very hungry spreading it’s offense to both sides of the pitch which forced Ashdod manager Nir Klinger to make a number of tactical changes throughout the first half. Finally in the 37th minute Beitar was able to break through as midfielder Shlomi Azoulay was able to pick off the ball and take it to the Ashdod box make a perfect pass to Hanan Maman who slotted it home with ease to give the yellow and black a 1-0 lead.
Beitar Jerusalem coach Menachem Koretzky made the correct substitutions bringing in offensive fire power in Tomer Suissa in order to finish Ashdod off and pick up a 2nd goal that wold seal the deal. However, Ashdod had other plans when Klinger replaced injured Morad Abu Anze with David Solari who somehow was somehow able to put in a sloppily played ball in the box where Beitar ‘keeper Boris Kleiman made a terrific first save but the rebound was unable to be cleared by the Jerusalem defense and gave the two clubs a point a piece.
The draw left the Beitar faithful and owner Eli Tabib upset and disappointed as this was a match that was clearly one which the home team should have picked up maximum points.
Hapoel Raanana 1-1 Hapoel Beer Sheva
Beer Sheva and over 3000 supporters found their way to the Netanya stadium to watch their club come away with a disappointing 1-1 draw against the always dangerous Hapoel Rannana. Anthony Nwakaeme’s 18th minute goal gave the home side a first half lead as Dovev Gabbay’s penalty was saved by Arik Yanko. Elyaniv Barda the Beer Sheva captain was subbed out at halftime after injuring his groin and was replaced by a very quiet Shlomi Arbeitmen who did not produce any offense. Maor Melikson toed the game up on David Bar Natan’s 2nd penalty but was unable to convert a 3rd penalty opportunity as his miscalculated run and shot hit off the inside of the right post to help Raanana preserve the tie and pick up a point.
Hapoel Haifa 3-2 Maccabi Netanya
Netanya’s troubles continue after giving up a injury time goal to 10 man Hapoel Haifa as Reuven Atar picked up his first win of the season. Netanya opened up the scoring on an Tadas Kijankas own goal coming off an Eran Levy free kick. Haifa then scored two in row both coming on headers delivered by Or Ostaynd with the first being headed in by Kijanskas and the second by Gal Cohen. However, Cohen picked up a foolish second yellow card resulting in a red and him being sent off in the 70th minute allowing the visitors to tie it up on a Shimon Harush strike. But a pressing 10 man Haifa squad was able to steal the three points when Roei Shukrani slammed home the winner past Ariel Harush to the delight of the fans and to the dismay of Netanya manager Yossi Mizrachi.
Kiryat Shemona 3-0 Maccabi Petach Tikva
David Manga lifted a ball toward Shir Tzedek in the 43rd minute and it was redirected by Maccabi Petach Tikva player Joachim Mununga as Kiryat Shemona picked up a goal which turned out to be the game winner as the northern club shut out the up the visitors 3-0. Rodgers Kola and Ahed Azam scored the next two goals for Kiryat Shemona which will keep the team in first place for yet another week.
Hapoel Petach Tikva 4-1 Hapoel Akko
Hapoel Petach Tikva offered free admission for their match with Akko and the 7000 supporters who came out were not disappointed! The home side scored two quick goals by Shachar Hirsch & Guy Dayan in the first half and set the tone for a fun night out! Even though Akko closed the gap to 2-1 early in the 2nd half on a goal by Imaye Taga it took less than a minute for Prtach Tikva to regain a 2 goal lead as Shachar Hirsch scored his 2nd of the night. Youngster Dor Hugi finished off the rout with a 90 minute goal to send the fans home happy in euphoria for hopefully not the only time this season.
Bnei Sakhnin 1-1 Hapoel Tel Aviv
Up until the 89th minute it looked as if the sides were going to settle on a 0-0 draw and a split of the points. The points were divided except it happened only after a few final crazy minutes where Bnei Sakhnin took a lead on a beautiful Abraham Paz header but it was followed up by an own goal by Alaa Abu Salach just 2 minutes later to give Hapoel Tel Aviv a tie.