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Round 4 Ligat Ha’al Football Israel

Round 4 got off to a fast start with big wins across the country from Hapoel Tel Aviv’s 4-0 win in Haifa to Maccabi Tel Aviv’s victory at Bloomfield Stadium over Kiryat Shemona! Lots of action, plenty of goals with 1 more game to go!

Hapoel Raanana 2-2 Beitar Jerusalem

In a terrific back and forth match up Raanana continued its fine form and maintained their undefeated streak which is now at 4 games in a 2-2 draw with Beitar. Both teams came out with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Beitar Jerusalem struck first with a nice finish by Yitzik Cohen, but it was Tamir Cohen for Hapoel Raanana who launched a missle of a free kick over a poorly constructed Jerusalem wall into the top right hand corenr and out of the reach of ‘keeper Ariel Harush tie things all up at 1 a piece.

Teteh Bangura came back for Beitar with a superb finish for a 2-1 lead in the 29th minute, but Asi Baldot pulled the hosts even at 2 with a goal of his own at the 53rd minute mark. But it was his hard and flagrant foul that sent him off in the 80th minute with a red card and will most certainly send him to stand before the Israel Football Association disciplinary committee with a pretty harsh suspension waiting in the wings.

Referee Eitan Shmulevitch stole the show at the end of the game when he failed to call a foul on Tamir Cohen in the box for a certain penalty. After the match, Cohen said that the ball may have first hit the Beitar player’s hand. Regardless the call left the Beitar fans in a situation where some had to throw rocks on the Hapoel Raanana youth bus and smash windows petrifying the bus driver, children and all that were on it.

Maccabi Tel Aviv 3-0 Kiryat Shemona

What can be said about Maccabi? They are by far the best team in the league and in my opinion along with many others the team to beat in the Israeli league this season. They handily beat Kiryat Shemona at home Saturday night with a spectacular showing by Eran Zehavi & Tal Ben Haim. Monas Dabour also added a goal, but boy, check out the replays and look at the give and go, passing plays and more from Maccabi! Juan Pablo Colinas continues his shutout mark in the league and all is OK in Maccabi Land. Paulo Sousa has many weapons at his disposal and can turn to almost any player in any position and plug them into the line up. But not only that, Maccabi can play different styles of game as has been seen thus far which will be key if they have any intentions of moving along in the Europa League. Interestingly enough, one player who was so focal at the beginning of Sousa’s reign has been quite quiet as we head into October. And that man is Omri Altman. Great things were expected of him and he started in some of the European games at the start of the season, but since then he has not been heard from. I am wondering where he fits in. Or does he at all.

Hapoel Haifa 0-4 Hapoel Tel Aviv

When Dario Fernandez has a bad day so does the team he is playing for and that is what happened last night to Hapoel Haifa. The Reds from up north looked very weak and disorganized against the Reds from Tel Aviv who were wearing black as the visitors pounded home four goals en route to a blow out win. Omer Damari scored two and Itay Schecter & Israel Zaguri each added one a piece as Hapoel Tel Aviv is beginning to look like the team we were expecting to see this season. Ahed Azam picked up a red card in the 75th minute for Haifa as manager Shlomi Dura had a rough night on the sidelines.

Bnei Sakhnin 0-1 Maccabi Haifa

This might have been the most exciting 0-0 draws this season as both Haifa & Bnei Sakhnin put on a show with Haifa hitting posts and cross bars and Sakhnin also missiing terrific chances, but it was the referee Daniel Bar Natan who missed a good game. Bar Natan flubbed up a couple of times calling a Sakhnin goal offside in the 3rd minute and not whistling Andrey Pilevski for a blatant foul in the box for a certain penalty in Sakhnin’s favor. Haifa escaped with a point from Doha Stadium but manager Arik Benado has much to be concerned about as his team heads to face Shaktar Karagandy in Astana, Khazakstan on Thursday night.

Maccabi Petach Tikva 1-1 Hapoel Akko

Akko pulled a goal out of a sock, or should I say Guy Dayan pulled a Kipa, a yarmulke out of his sock when he scored Akko’s goal and celebrated with his teammates saying the Shema to give his club a 1-0 lead. However, the advantage was short lived as Pedro Galvan put in the equalizer as the teams split the points at the Moshava stadium in Petach Tikva in front of 1,100 fans.

Ashdod 3-0 Ramat HaSharon

Ashdod sans their manager Nir Klinger who was suspended for the match took care of a struggling Ramat HaSharon with goals by newcomer David Solari, Roie Bekel & Gady Kinda. Ramat HaSharon the Cinderella club from last season has been anything but this year with troubles on and off the pitch.