Haifa moves closer to title, Maccabi TLV blanks Hapoel Jerusalem, Ashdod downs Netanya

Apr 1, 2023 | Football

Maccabi Haifa downed Hapoel Beer Sheva 1-0 to move 7 points clear of the southern reds and put a stranglehold on the league championship. Frantzdy Pierrot scored the lone goal of the match from right in front of the goal to take the 3-points and the win.

“We had to win this game and it wasn’t the way we wanted to see it open up but we scored a goal and the most important thing as to win the game,” Haifa coach Barak Bachar said. “We have plenty of very tough games coming up and we made a big step towards the title but there are many more challenges in front of us.”

Bachar also spoke about his rumored move to Red Star Belgrade in Serbia, “There is an offer on the table and owner Yakov Shachar is aware of that. Since I still have another year on my contract everything needs to go through him. But right now I am all in at Haifa and focussed on winning the title and we will see going forward what will happen.”

“We were able to create chances in both halves but we gave up a goal in the first half,” Eliyaniv Barda said. “While we controlled the pace of play in the second half, a championship team like Haifa needs to win games like this and that is what they did. We were bit naive in front of their goal and that is what was missing. It’s very disappointing.”

Maccabi Tel Aviv blanked Hapoel Jerusalem 2-0 as the yellow-and-blue dominated play throughout the 90 minutes to collect the 3-points ahead of a showdown with Maccabi Haifa midweek. Djorde Jovanovic opened the scoring with the quickest goal of the season just 25 seconds into the game when his left footed strike caromed off a Red defender and into the net for a 1-0 lead. Eran Zahavi doubled the advantage in the 93rd minute as his scorcher went off of the post and into the goal to wrap up the win.

“We played Jerusalem a few months ago and lost so it was important for us to win and look good in this match,” Maccabi coach Aitor Karanka said. “We scored and didn’t concede and we had plenty of chances for more goals, especially in the first so we have to continue to improve.”

“We did everything that I wanted the players to do and there were many stages of the games that we looked better than Maccabi,” Jerusalem bench boss Ziv Arie said. “Unfortunately we didn’t have enough quality up front to take advantage of our chances. Maccabi is a team that doesn’t need our gifts and when you do give them, it will make our situation much more difficult.”

Beitar Jerusalem cruised by Hapoel Haifa 2-0 as the yellow-and-black scored both of their goals late in each half to take the win and the 3-points. Trazie Thomas nodded home a Fred Friday ball in first half injury time while Adi Yona jumped all over a rebound at the end of the second half to notch the victory.

“We had a ton of chances in the first half,” Beitar coach Yossi Abuksis said following the win. “But when you don’t score then you can concede, so I was happy that we did find the back of the goal before the break. It was an exciting game and an enjoyable one as well with good pace.”

“The first half was a very poor one for us and Beitar controlled the pace of play and scored right before halftime,” Haifa coach Roni Levy said. “I didn’t like how we played and I am not happy about how we looked which is very concerning for me.”

Hapoel Tel Aviv slipped by Sektzia Nes Ziona 2-1 to pick up the points as all three goals were scored in the second half. After a listless first half, Nes Ziona’s Muhammed Osman was sent off after collecting a pair of yellow cards just ahead of the break, leaving the Reds with a man to the good for the final 45 minutes of the game. Alen Ozbolt broke the deadlock after putting in a rebound in the box to give Hapoel a 1-0 lead in the 60th minute while Hrovje IIic added a second goal 25 minutes later. Mor Fadida pulled a goal back deep into injury time but it was too little too late as Haim Silvas’s squad took the victory.

“As long as it’s not mathematically possible to drop down a league we still aren’t staying in the top division,” Silvas began after the game. “This was a tough game and we didn’t have a chance on goal until they lost a player. This was a game that we needed to finish off much earlier, but all in all this was a very important win.”

“This was a decent match for two teams playing in the relegation playoffs,” last place Nes Ziona coach Shlomi Dura said. “It’s not over yet and there is still 15 points left and we will need to take some of those points and hope for the best.”

Kiryat Shemona and Bnei Sakhnin played to an entertaining 2-2 draw as Senin Sebai scored a brace to split the points. Sakhnin grabbed the lead on a Roi Kehat own goal but Sebai scored in teh 52nd minute from in close to even up the score at 1-1. Veteran midfielder Beram Kayal gave Sakhnin the lead with a brilliant free kick from 25 meters out, but Sebai came to the rescue in the 81st minute as each squad took home a point.

“Last season we had some games that we won in a similar fashion but it’s tough to suffer this way sometimes,” Kiryat Shemona coach Slobodan Drapic began as they battle against relegation. “When you play well in the second half and the ball doesn’t go in it’s unfortunate but luckily for us we are still in the hunt and we are optimistic to do what we can to make this city and the owner happy.”

“We came here with the goal to win and finish off our story in battling against relegation,” Sakhnin coach Kobi Refuah said. “We weren’t that good in the second half and our lead should have held up but we conceded which is disappointing. I’m sure that we will stay in the league.”

Maccabi Bnei Reineh and Hapoel Hadera drew 1-1 as each team took a point and looked to move further away from the relegation zone. Samy Bourard gave Hadera a 1-0 lead via a 33rd minute penalty but Roei Halaf scored just at the stroke of halftime to split the points.

“We started the game with a very offensive lineup with four strikers because we really wanted to win this game,” Reineh coach Sharon Mimer said. “Unfortunately the game began with a penalty and the goal put us under a lot of pressure. But we reacted well to score equalizer.”

“We knew that Reineh came in with good momentum and in general they are a solid team and deserve to stay in the league,” Hadera bench boss Menachem Koretzky began. “However, as to how this game began I believe we could have gotten more out of this contest. But we know that every point is important in the battle against relegation and we will continue on.”

Ashdod defeated Maccabi Netanya 3-2 at the port city to stay in front of the diamond city squad in the race for the 4th and final European qualification spot. The hosts jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead before the game was 4 minutes old as Zakaria Mugees scored from in front and Nenad Cvetkovic headed home the ball for the two goal advantage. Aviv Avraham cut the lead to 2-1 ahead of the break but Yakov Brihen helped Ashdod regain the 2-goal lead in the 73rd minute. Igor Zlatanovic scored an 89th minute penalty to make it a one goal game but the visitors couldn’t find the equalizer as Ran Ben Shimon’s side took the 3-points.

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