Maccabi Haifa defeated Kiryat Shemona 2-0 at Sammy Ofer Stadium and have now captured 7 out of a possible 9 points to begin the season. The last time Greens took as many points to start a campaign was in 2010/11, the last time they were crowned champions. After a goalless first half, Marko Balbul’s squad came out of the break on fire and scored a quick goal to take a 1-0 lead in the 49th minute when Yarden Shua launched a scorcher in the box towards the Kiryat Shemona keeper Dziugas Bartkus that striker Nikita Rukavytsya pounded home off a rebound. Haifa added to their advantage in the 77th minute as Yuval Ashkenazi beat a diving Bartkus to wrap up a 2-0 win.
Maccabi Tel Aviv slipped by Hapoel Kfar Saba 1-0 at the Moshava Stadium thanks to a first half goal by Dor Micha off a perfect pass into the box by Chico Ofoedu. The yellow-and-blue also now have 7 points out of a possible 9 as they prepare for an early season showdown with Maccabi Haifa next week.
Hapoel Haifa dropped Beitar Jerusalem 2-0 at Teddy Stadium. An own goal by Shay Konstantin and a second half strike by new signing Gidi Kanuk gave the Carmel Reds the three points and the victory.
Hapoel Hadera shocked upstart Hapoel Raanana 4-0 as Lucio scored a pair of penalties to lead Ori Guttman’s side to the victory. Ben Binyamin was pulled down in the box in the 41st minute and with the help of the VAR (virtual assistant referee) Liran Liani pointed to the spot and Lucio put the ball home to give the host’s a 1-0 lead just before the halftime break. Eliel Peretz doubled the advantage in the 73rd minute when he sent the ball into the right corner of the goal beating keeper Assaf Tzur. Five minutes later Hagay Goldenberg found the back of the goal and in the 86th minute Lucio scored his second penalty when Liani once again consulted with the VAR which showed that Sagi Dror was taken down by Yarden Cohen.
Ashdod and Hapoel Beer Sheva drew 2-2 at the Yud Alef Stadium. The port city side surprised Barak Bachar’s team with a 2nd minute goal by Timothy Awany off a smart corner by Shlomi Azulay, but Nigel Hasselbaink headed home the equalizer less than twenty minutes later. Ben Sahar gave Beer Sheva a 2-1 advantage three minutes into the second half but an active Azulay drew Ashdod even in the 52nd minute as he beat keeper Ohad Levita who had come on as a substitute for Erestas Setkus due to an injury as each club took a point.
Hapoel Tel Aviv and Sektzia Ness Tziona drew 1-1 as the Reds continue to struggle having not yet won an official game this season placing coach Niso Avitan on the hot seat. Hapoel grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 43rd minute as new recruit Stefan Spirovski assisted on Marvin Peersman’s strike however, the visitor’s found the equalizer in the 59the minute when Seaikou Touray beat Red’s keeper Yoav Gerafi to split the points.
Bnei Yehuda and Maccabi Netanya played to a goalless draw at Bloomfield Stadium as very few chances were created by either side.