Hapoel Tel Aviv slipped by Maccabi Petach Tikva 2-1 on a second half injury time goal by substitute Yoav Tomer to take the 3-points. After a scoreless first half, Osher Davida scored a brilliant goal on a terrific individual effort as he glided into the box and went by a number of players to give the Reds a 1-0 lead. However, five minutes later Lameck Banda found the back of the goal to draw Nir Klinger’s team even. But on the final play of the game, Tomer headed home a free kick to snatch the points for Kobi Refuah’s squad.
“We played quality soccer in the first half but just not good enough,”Refuah explained. “However, the second we saw a team that wanted to win and we made sure that Petah Tikva had no chances to score. This win was a sweet as they come and this was arguably our best game.”
“This was a very disappointing debut for me on the sidelines,” Klinger said following the dramatic defeat. “A team that is in our situation must score goals at any opportunity we have to and we certainly had sone very good chances to do just that.”
Hapoel Beer Sheva overwhelmed Bnei Sakhnin 3-0 thanks to a Nikita Rukavytsya brace to take the points and remain at the top of the table. Nikita Rukavytsya opened the scoring just ahead of the break as the striker scored off a Ramzi Safouri pass for a 1-0 lead. Roni Levy’s side added an insurance marker just one minute into the second half via David Petrucelli while Rukavytsya scored his second goal of the game as he took an Or Dadia ball to complete his brace.
“This wasn’t as easy as it looked and in fact very difficult,” Levy said following the clash. “Over the course of the first half we didn’t have patience and we tried to play a but too fast. At halftime we put an emphasis on being calm, control the ball properly and we saw how we improved at the same time.”
“Anyone who saw us play in the first half saw a team that was even more dangerous than Beer Sheva,” Sahknin coach Sharon Mimer said. “Unfortunately over the past two weeks we have conceded at critical points of the game and that mentally breaks us down.”
Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Hadera drew 1-1 as they Reds Guy Hadida played a central role for both teams at Teddy Stadium as each side took a point for their efforts. Hadida scored an own goal in the 33rd minute off an errant header in the box that went by his own Jerusalem keeper. However, Hadida made up for his missus ten minutes later when he nodded the ball home to draw his squad even at 1-1 by the half-time break. In the 74th minute the same Hadida was sent off with a second yellow card, but Hadera was unable to capitalize with a man to the good and find a way to take the win as the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
“Up until the red card we were the better team,” Jerusalem bench boss Ziv Arie said. “Hadera had a chance here and there and they scored which made us have to chase after the score. We really needed to win, but we are still above the relegation zone.”
“Disappointed is a gentle word as to how I really feel right now,” Hadera coach Menachem Koretzky said. “This was not soccer and I am talking about only my team. We didn’t show up and didn’t create proper chances. For that I am sorry. We didn’t shoot the ball at the target and we barely tried.”
Kiryat Shemona and Hapoel Haifa drew 2-2 in an entertaining matchup up in the northern capital. They hosts struck first when Roie Kehat volleyed home the first goal of the game but Alen Ozbalt helped the Carmel Reds draw even at 1-1 just before the end of the first half. Nes Zamir gave the visitors a 2-1 lead when he scored in the box for Haifa but Itamar Shviro found the tying goal as he beat Ohad Levita to split the points.
“We were much better in the first half and should have been leading,” Kiryat Shemona coach Slobodan Drapic explained. “This is the team I want to see. Perhaps we were a bit naive and we have up a goal out of nowhere. After we made some changes we were able to come back and tie up the game.”
“Both teams wanted to win this game,” Haifa coach Elisha Levy said. “After we were up 2-1 we needed to control the ball but we attacked just a bit too much., however, that is the character of our club. Each team had chances but at the end of the day I am not happy that we didn’t win.”
Maccabi Netanya and Beitar Jerusalem played to a 0-0 dry goalless draw as the squads split the points at the Netanya Stadium.
“Netanya was better in the first half and we were the superior team in the second as we had 4 excellent chances to score a goal,” Beitar coach Yossi Mizrachi explained. “If we don’t know how to take advantage of these situations and score we are in trouble. Beitar needs to play better soccer and I believe that this will happen when come of the players who have been out will return.”
“I believe that we may have played one of our best games of the season,” Benny Lam, Netanya’s coach noted. “We controlled the game and Beitar was tired despite them having a few good chances. We will keep working with our attacking players who are still very young.”
Ashdod blanked Hapoel Nof HaGalil 3-0 at a home game that was played at Bloomfield Stadium. Muhammad Kna’an opened the scoring with an 8th minute goal, Yakov Brihen doubled the advantage 40 minutes later while Oz Bilu scored deep into second half injury time to wrap up the dominant win.
“This was a fantastic game for us,” Ashdod coach Rav Ben Shimon said. “For the most part this season we have played well and I am very proud of the players. We have plenty more goals ahead for this season.”