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Ligat Ha’Al Round 24 February 27-March 2, 2015

Eran Zahavi-Courtesy Maccabi Tel Aviv

Hapoel Beer Sheva 2-1 Kiryat Shemona

Beer Sheva finally found Elyaniv Barda who had been MIA from scoring since his one man show hat trick in September against Maccabi Tel Aviv as he nailed a brace for the 3rd place club to closer to Kiryat Shemona and only 6 points behind Maccabi. Barda looked like a man on a mission against the northern club knowing that his team had been struggling of late needing a scoring boost from its captain. After Barda’s 1st goal, Roie Kehat quickly equalized to pull Barak Bachar’s side even on a nice tight header that beat a laboring Austine Ejide. However with both team’s looking for a winner it was Barda to the rescue to earn Elisha Levy the win and a bit of breathing room as he had been under pressure the last few weeks from the supporters and management with rumors swirling that he would be replaced at year end.

Maccabi Tel Aviv 2-0 Bnei Sakhnin

Maccabi ended their four game winless streak with an unconvincing win at Bloomfield Stadium Saturday night. Sakhnin seemed to have read the text book on Maccabi coach Pako Ayestaran and as many other teams have learned, there is a way to stop Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Sakhnin followed the same pattern that was seen the last few matches by Kiryat Shemona and Hapoel Haifa by primarily clogging up the midfield and keeping two lines of four players each closely together in order to frustrate the MTA offense. The only problem for the visitors was that they themselves couldn’t muster any scoring chances, especially from the likes of young star Muhamed Ghadir. After playing Maccabi so close for the opening half, Eran Zahavi finally broke through at the stroke of halftime sending the yellow-and-blue into the lockerroom up by a goal.

The second half saw Maccabi moving faster than the first and the insertion of Tal Ben Chaim for Nosa Igiebor breathed some new life into the Tel Aviv side. Dor Micha took advantage of the new found spirit and scored his second goal since the arrival of Gili Vermouth from Hapoel Tel Aviv and secured the 3-points for the league leaders.

Hapoel Petach Tikva 0-1 Beitar Jerusalem

Beitar Jerusalem made their case to make it into the upper playoffs by beating their former coach 1-0 in the Moshava Stadium in Petach Tikva. Though the only offense produced was by Omer Atzili’s goal, Guy Levy was able to outwit Menachem Koretzky to keep Beitar level with Hapoel Raanana tied for 5th place just behind Maccabi Petach Tikva. Hapoel’s young striker on loan from Maccabi Haifa Shachar Hirsch came out of the match injured in the 1st half, which definitely stymied their productivity on this night.

Hapoel Akko 1-0 Hapoel Tel Aviv

Hapoel Tel Aviv didn’t look like the team that played against Maccabi Haifa last week and suffered a defeat against the cellar dweller of the Ligat Ha’Al. Dudu Biton missed a penalty chance for the Reds as Yuval Avidor made them pay at the death scoring in the 94th minute to send the Tel Aviv faithful back to the center of the country in druthers.

Hapoel Raanana 2-0 Hapoel Haifa

Haim Silvas has managed as good as anyone since he was brought back after 3 day firing period with his side winning yet again to potentially send Raanana into the upper playoffs. Goals by Moshe Abutbol and Shoval Gozlan off of assist by Mamdou Thiam helped earn the victory and 3-points over Haifa. Tal Benin couldn’t work any more magic coming off a 2-0 debit win last week against Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Ashdod 0-0 Maccabi Petach Tikva

Some clubs don’t know how to take the bull by the horns and that is exactly what happened to Maccabi under Ran Ben Shimon who just returned from the U.S. on personal matters. To add insult to injury Ashdod owner decided to charge for the match something that he hasn’t done all year against the smaller sides.