Maccabi Tel Aviv slipped by Maccabi Haifa 1-0 at the new Bloomfield Stadium as the yellow-and-blue moved into sole possession of first place. Despite just one goal being scored in the contest, there was plenty of action and controversy that was witnessed by over 26 thousand fans.
The Carmel Greens came into the match up very confident that they could stand toe to toe with Maccabi which forced coach Vladimir Ivic’s hand to play the same formation as Marko Balbul’s Haifa. Midway through the first half, Haifa defender Eyad Habshi and keeper Guy Haimov both attempted to block a Maccabi cross but their heads clashed leaving both players on the ground. Habshi was patched up but taken off a few minutes later, while Haimov was being cared for by the club doctor who called for the shot stopper to be substituted. However, Coach Marko Balbul allowed Haimov to remain in the game at the behest of his keeper.
Maccabi got on the board a few minutes later when Andre Geraldes served up a 37th minute corner that was headed by Nick Blackman and caromed into the goal by the left post off of Haifa’s Australian central defender Trent Sainsbury.
Just before the halftime break, Haimov was clipped in the head once again when he went to smother the ball and was stretchered off the pitch and taken to the hospital for tests. American Josh Cohen came on to replace Haimov and kept his goal clean but so did his counterpart Daniel Tenenbaum in the Maccabi goal as the hosts grabbed the 3 points. Maccabi will now prepare for Tuesday night’s Toto Cup Final against Beitar Jerusalem.
Beitar Jerusalem defeated Kiryat Shemona 2-0 in the northern capital as the capital city side picked up their first win of the league campaign. After a goalless first half, Roni Levy’s squad came out of the break on fire as Gadi Kinda put home an Antoine Conte cross into the box for a 1-0 lead. Tamir Adi doubled the advantage in the 71st minute when he slotted home the ball from long distance as Beitar wrapped up a tidy 2-0 win ahead of their Toto Cup Final with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Hapoel Beer Sheva upended Hapoel Tel Aviv 3-0 at Turner Stadium. Ben Sahar scored a brace while Nigel Haselbaink finished off the Tel Aviv Reds with a late goal. Haselbaink sent a cross to Sahar in the 32nd minute to open the scoring while it looked as if newcomer Demba Camara drew Tel Aviv even early in the second half off a Maor Buzaglo pass but VAR ruled that there was a handball by the striker as the goal was nullified. Soon thereafter, Ben Bitton was pulled down by Marvin Peersman allowing Sahar to score his second of the night from the spot. In the 87th minute an active Haselbaink was rewarded with a marker of his own also thanks to a VAR consultation which overruled an offside call.
Maccabi Netanya and Kfar Saba played to a thrilling 2-2 draw. Kfar Saba broke the first half stalemate when Boubacar Traore laced as low liner just from the top right of the area past a helpless Dani Amos for a 1-0 lead in the 52nd minute. But Netanya stormed back to go ahead 2-1 when Aviv Avraham fired home the equalizer into the top shelf and Spaniard Roman Golobart scored in the box. However, deep into stoppage time Omer Fadida was pulled down by Almog Cohen as the former converted the 99th minute penalty to earn a split of the points.
Hapoel Raanana hosted Ashdod as the sides played to a 1-1 draw at the Moshava Stadium. Adi Nimni sent a smart ball to Or Dasa in the box as the latter scored the opening strike to give Raanana a 1-0 lead. However, Ashdod’s Roie Gordana scorched a laser beam of a shot from well outside of the area to cleanly beat Raanana keeper Asaf Tzur and hand his squad a hard earned and well deserved point.
Hapoel Hadera continued their winning ways as they dropped Hapoel Haifa 2-1 away at Sammy Ofer Stadium. Eliel Peretz opened the scoring for Ori Gutman’s squad off a Roie Zikri assist while the same Zikri then blasted the ball past Jasmin Buric for a 2-0 lead. Gidi Kanuk scored his second goal in as many games when he drove the ball behind Austin Ejide but it was too little too late for Haim Silvas’s Haifa to steal a point.
Bnei Yehuda’s 6th minute strike by Tambi Sagas was all they needed to get past Nes Tziona 1-0 at the Moshava Stadium and take the 3 points.