Maccabi Haifa 2-0 Beitar Jerusalem
Maccabi Haifa continued its string of unbeaten games against Beitar Jerusalem defeating the yellow and black 2-0 on a beautiful Haifa evening. The win was the club’s 800th since the founding of the State of Israel and helped ease the pressure on the team’s disappointing start to the season.
Maccabi Haifa entered the game with a twelve game undefeated streak against the visiting Jerusalem club, last losing to Beitar at Kiryat Eliezer back in 2008. However, home has not been a welcome place for Haifa this year as they have only a lone victory in the season’s first round and surprisingly scored their only domicile goals in that 3-1 victory over Kiryat Shemina to open their campaign.
Coming into the match, Maccabi Haifa’s embattled coach Arik Benado received plenty of support from his charges as he went with an offensive lineup in order to change his fortunes.
Haifa did not disappoint it’s fans and management as they came out flying in the first half producing the majority of chances and finally breaking the ice on a goal by former Beitar property Alon Turgeman in the 11th minute off a superb pass by struggling midfielder Ruben Rayos.
Benado decided to mix up his offense by playing Rayos on the left side of the pitch which allowed him more freedom in front of speedy left back Taleb Tawatha. That left Haifa captain Yaniv Katan more of an opportunity to control the midfield as Hen Ezra roamed on the right side as opposed to the usual left. The results produced by these changes was total domination by Maccabi Haifa in the first half that ended with a 1-0 lead.
The second half saw more of the same from the two clubs with Haifa controlling the tempo but unable to take advantage of their many opportunities until the 79th minute when Tawatha lifted a ball from the left side into the crowded Beitar box where Hen Ezra put the game out of reach with an intelligent shot that reached the back of the goal. Beitar never came close to tying up the score on their rare occasions during the end to end action packed final 45 minutes.
It was a long night for Beitar coach Eli Cohen’s strikers, Ibrahim Bangura & Yitzik Cohen as they did not receive service from the midfield of Bryan Jones, Shay Hadad & Ofir Kriaf as they lost for the first time in five matches.
Maccabi Tel Aviv 2-0 Maccabi Petach Tikva
In other action, defending champions Maccabi Tel Aviv drew 2-2 with Maccabi Petach Tikva in a wild and crazy game at Bloomfield Stadium. Eran Zahavi, Maccabi’s star in their 4-2 victory over Frankfurt in their Europa League victory this past Thursday night scored on a questionable 50th minute penalty. Tel Aviv doubled its lead to 2-0 on a terrific strike by Nikola Mitrovic in the 59th minute off a nice pass by Rada Prica.
But Maccabi Petach Tikva shocked the home side by scoring two goals in three minutes. The first coming in the 75th minute on a bizarre Tel Aviv own goal that saw ‘keeper Juan Pablo Colinas swat away a corner kick right into defender Mane’s leg and the tying mark on a Diaa Sabia rocket past Juan Pablo from 25 meters to split the points.