Five games Saturday night produced 3 draws and perhaps the half of the year in the “little derby”. Two more game Monday night will finish off the round as Maccabi Tel Aviv take on Maccabi Petach Tikva and in the Match of the Week Beitar Jerusalem visits Maccabi Haifa.
Bnei Yehuda 2-2 Hapoel Tel Aviv
After a pretty dry first half, Bnei Yehuda & Hapoel Tel Aviv began to put on a football show and what a show it was! Penalties, beautiful goals, terrific goalkeeping, missed plays by the referee and we had an amazing 45 minutes of play that produced the third draw of the night.
Itay Schecter had started the game but came out in favor of Sean Malcha in the 48th minute was the turning point of the game as Omer Damari scored his first of two on the night off a Roie Gordana pass just one minute later to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Oz Rali took matters into his own hands in the 55th minute dribbling thorugh the Hapoel defense and scoring one of the best goals thus far this season to even up the game at one.
Bnei Yehuda then took the shock lead in the 62nd minute as Jugan Colin pulled down Or Baruch as he headed towards the Hapoel goal. The referee had no choice but to issue a red card and point to the spot where Oz Rali’s penalty was saved by Boris Kleiman but Liroy Tzieri scored on the rebound to take a 2-1 lead.
Ten man Hapoel was able to draw even in the 68th minute as Ben Vahaba’s handball in the box allowed Omer Damari to score his 2nd of the game and 6th on the season as the game ended in a 2-2 draw.
Bnei Sakhnin 0-4 Hapoel Beer Sheva
Many had thought that Bnei Sakhnin would be able to be the southern capital’s club a hard time in Doha Stadium, but it was not to be as Beer Sheva captain Elyaniv Barda scored two goals in a very dominant performance by the visitors. In a game that was never in doubt, Maor Buzaglo and Tomer Suissa each scored their 2nd of the season and Hapoel Beer Sheva temporarily leapfrogged Maccabi Tel Aviv in the standings to take sole possession of first place.
Hapoel Ramat HaSharon 1-1 Hapoel Akko
Ramat HaSharon are now undefeated in their last two games picking up another point in a home draw with Hapoel Akko. Playing in Grundman stadium with 600 fans in attendance, Bosnian Emir Hadzic scored his first goal of the season to put RHS into the lead 9 minutes into the match. But then Ben Reichert was given his second yellow card within 2 minutes and was handed a red in the 49th minute leaving only 10 players for RHS. Akko finally took advantage of the situation and off an 81st minute Guy Dayan corner Itamar Nitzan the RHS ‘keeper misjudged the ball and Elior Seidere slotted it home to split the points.
Ashdod 1-0 Hapoel Haifa
Hapoel Haifa’s run of three straight victories came to a crashing end tonight in Ashdod as Nir Klinger’s side claimed the three points on a Timor Avitan 71st minute goal. Avitan had just come in at the 65th minute and was able to slot home a headed ball by David Solari right past Haifa ‘keeper Kale. Hapoel coach Shlomi Dura thought the two teams deserved to draw, but a mistake by his side gave Ashdod valuable points.
Kiryat Shemona 0-0 Hapoel Raanana
Raanana picked up yet another point, this time in Kiryat Shemona to bring their total to 14 in the surprise of the season. Adi Nimni picked up his second yellow card of the match in the 93rd minute to reduce Raanana’s attack. But it was too little too late for the home side as they couldn’t break down the Raanana defense and had to settle for a draw and a share of the points.