Hapoel Beer Sheva 2-0 Maccabi Haifa
Last year The Sports Rabbi travelled with a full car to Kiryat Eliezer Stadium in Haifa to see these two teams battle it out in what was to be a high scoring contest with two teams loaded with offensive players.
But a funny thing happened. We got nothing. Nada. Not one goal! We saw a red card issued to Haifa early on to Dekel Keinan for using his hand to bat away a sure goal, but the ensuing penalty was sent over the crossbar by Elyaniv Barda. A game of chess was what we saw for the balance of the match.
Last night was a bit different as Hapoel Beer Sheva truly dominated large swathes of the match and didn’t allow Maccabi Haifa many chances to score. Haifa looked slow and sluggish throughout the match after missing some amazing chances early on that again were of the grandmother variety. Anyone should have put the ball in the net but some of the pros from Haifa just couldn’t figure it out.
The only inspired performer from Haifa was keeper Vladimir Stoyakovich who saved an Elyaniv Barda penalty from 11 meters and made sure that the score line didn’t head north of the final 2-0. Hen Ezra, Mamadou Idrissou Eyal Meshumar looked like lost puppies as Hapoel Beer Sheva continued attacking with confidence.
Ex-Haifa striker Shlomi Arbeitman scored the Beer Sheva first goal but didn’t celebrate due to his playing in front of his former fans and Roie Gordana who was shipped out of Hapoel Tel Aviv put away one of the nicer goals this year.
Maor Bozaglo delivered his usual terrific crosses and as he said after the game the final should and could have been 3 or 4 goals for the home side as they knew how they would be able to break the Haifa spirit easily.
Which brings us to the mental breakdowns that seem to plague Haifa the past few weeks. Coach Aleksander Stanoyvich spoke about it at length after losses to Maccabi Tel Aviv & at home against Hapoel Raanana. He said after this match that he can’t understand how his players didn’t put the ball in the goal from impossible to miss opportunities and kept harping on the lack of mental fitness.
One thing is for sure about the Haifa coach, he speaks his mind and his actions and body language show exactly how he feels. It must’ve have been long, long ride back to Haifa.
Owner Yakov Shachar says that he is happy thus far with the road that the coach is paving and has patience. But just how much patience is yet to be seen.
Listening to the man in charge at Beer Sheva who once was a Haifa manager, Elisha Levy perhaps should have been signed up for many years after his four with the Greens.
As he put it to the media, “I have a small part of the Maccabi Haifa history. All I did was win 2 championships, took the team to the UEFA a Champions League group stages as well the Europa League.” And of course there was a small smirk of satisfaction that he wa able to do a lot more than his three replacements, Reuven Atar, Arik Benado & Stanoyvich. Not shabby.
It should be interesting to see how the Haifa plays in its upcoming matches.
Bnei Sakhnin 1-4 Kiryat Shemona
Kiryat Shemona continues to dominate the Ligat Ha’Al by taking care of Bnei Sakhnin at Akko Stadium and showing why they currently sit in 1st place overall. The match had to be played away from their home facility, Doha in Sakhnin due to problems with the lighting, but it probably wouldn’t have matterd to the visitors if the game was played in the pitch dark. Kiryat Shemona opened the scoring already in the first minute as Rogers Kola fed a pass to Roie Kehat who connected to give them a quick 1-0 lead. However, a Sakhnin tied it up on a Feras Mugrabi goal from a Muhamed Ghadir pass. But that was all she wrote as the 2nd half was all the northern city lights scoring three goals from David Manga, Ofir Mizrahi & another one by Kehat to finish off a 4-1 drubbing.
Hapoel Haifa 0-1 Maccabi Petach Tikva
The visiting side took a lead in the 19th minute as Moshiko Lugassi sent a free kick into the box that the Haifa keeper couldn’t handle that was knocked home by American import Bryan Gezerizich for the lone goal of the game.