Maccabi Haifa paint Carmel Green with Derby win, Maccabi Tel Aviv wins, Beer Sheva draws

Feb 26, 2022 | Football

Maccabi Haifa slipped by Hapoel Haifa 1-0 in the Haifa Derby by the Carmel Mountain as Barak Bachar’s squad continued to widen the gap atop the table with Hapoel Beer Sheva drawing at Hapoel Tel Aviv. Tjaron Chery scored the lone goal of the game when he curled a gorgeous strike with his left foot right behind Ohad Levita in the 17th minute to take the 3-points and the win.

“This was not a simple game and we suffered in the second half, but it’s a Derby and an important game,” Bachar said following they victory. “Hapoel pressed us all over the field and we couldn’t do whatever we wanted to but this was a crucial win and we are in a good spot with just two games ahead of the Championship Playoffs. This was a sweet win.”

“The players gave everything they had and we played tough as we pressed high and did the best that we could,” Hapoel coach Elisha Levy said. “We lost this Derby but the guys gave it their all after we hadn’t done the same the first time we played Maccabi Haifa. Now we have to prepare for our Cup game coming up this week.”

Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Nof HaGalil 3-1 as newcomer Đorđe Jovanović scored a first half brace to pace the yellow-and-blue. Jovanovic gave Mladen Krstajic’s squad a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute as he scored from inside the box while ten minutes later Bitton fed the Serbian striker for his second of the game for his fourth in as many matches. Shay Barda’s team cut the lead to 2-1 as Bar Cohen set up Wahib Habiballa in the 38th minute but just ahead of the break Dan Bitton beat keeper Stefan Marinovic to add an insurance marker as Maccabi cruised to the two-goal win.

“I think we should have scored even more goals in the first half,” Krstajic commented following the win. “After a tough game in Europe it’s always guard to maintain the level of intensity the entire match. We expected a difficult game and we were focused. This was an important win.”

“We were soft in the first twenty minutes and that is not acceptable for a team playing at this level,” Barda explained. “We were able to cut the lead and I am content as to how we played in the second half but we haven’t been able to out together a few good games in a row.”

Hapoel Beer Sheva and Hapoel Tel Aviv drew 1-1 to split the points at Bloomfield Stadium. As the first half neared its end, Dor Micha was issued a red card for a reckless foul in the midfield as Beer Sheva was reduced to ten men for the balance of the game. The Reds took immediate advantage of the man to the good as Shlomi Azoulay found the back of the goal just ahead of the break to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. However, substitute Sagiv Yehezkel found the equalizer in the 57th minute as he scored from in close to earn a point a piece.

“Unfortunately we had a game plan that we worked on all week and we worked so hard on our offense and our press, but the red card turned everything upside down,” Beer Sheva boss Roni Levy said. “To find ourselves in a deficit at Bloomfield Stadium with these fans makes it very difficult but we were able to comeback and salvage something as the players fight very hard and succeeded.”

“What could have been with this game makes me look at what type of disappointment this is,” Tel Aviv coach Kobi Refuah lamented. “The goal we gave up was because we lacked focus and we then had chances but our decision making was not good along with our final passes on our opportunities.”

Beitar Jerusalem and Beni Sakhnin played to an entertaining 1-1 draw at the capital city. Ante Puljic scored from in close to give the visitors from the Galilee a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute but Gleofilo Vlijter drew the hosts even when he sprinted down the left side of the pitch and sliced the ball into the goal to split the points.

“We played a tough team that was in very good shape,” Beitar coach Yossi Abuksis said. “Last week we lost and we were very upset and as a bottom of the table team you need to know how to battle and fight it out for a point that we did this time around.”

“We came into the game very well prepared and we pressed from the get go which allowed us to take a lead and create a number of chances,” Haim Silvas, Sakhnin’s coach said. “After we gave up the tying goal we saw that we couldn’t find a way to win the game as Beitar was more energetic than us so we concentrated on just making sure we would take a point.”

Maccabi Netanya cruised to a 3-1 win over Ashdod as Igor Zlatanovic scored a brace at the port city. Benny Lam’s squad got off to a quick start as Zlatanovic took a terrific pass, brought the ball down with his chest and blasted it into the far corner of yoav Gerafi’s goal for a 1-0 lead in the 2nd minute. Zlatanovic scored his second of the game off a Hen Ezra assist in the 81st minute while soon thereafter Yuval Sadeh polished off an Eden Kartsev corner kick for a 3-0 advantage. Muhammed Kna’an pulled a goal back when he broke up the clean sheet in the 93rd minute with a penalty kick but it was too little, too late as the visitors took the points.

“We were a totally different team than the one from earlier in the season,” Lam explained. “Not only did we play great on the attack but we also played also terrific defense. Next week we want to have all of our fans with us and we want to clinch a spot in the Championship Playoffs and not wait until the final game of the regular season.”

“We’re going through a tough patch right now,” Ashdod coach Ran Ben Shimon noted. “Things are just not going the right way for us, although there were some good things to take away which sounds weird after we lost 3-1. We have to continue on.”

Maccabi Petah Tikva pounded Hapoel Hadera 4-1 as the last place side improved their situation as they battle relegation. Lameck Banda opened the scoring in the 26th minute while Aboubacar Doumbia added a second goal thanks to an Ion Nicolaescu ball just ahead of halftime to take a 2-0 lead after 45 minutes of play. Menashe Zalka pulled a goal back early on in the second half but Nicolaescu set Tomer Levi up for the team’s third goal while the aforementioned Nicolaescu found a marker of his own to wrap up the 3-goal win.

“I am very satisfied as to our game today,” Klinger commented. “We are in good shape since the Beitar game as we have been organized and very balanced plus we also have a true striker. These were very important points but we have to stay modest as we still have a long way to go but we do control our own destiny.”

“Since I’ve been here we have not given up 4 goals,” a disappointed Menachem Koretzky said. “This was not a good game and we lost it due to our lack of aggressiveness. Petah Tikva were superior than us in all parameters and while we began the game well they took all of the points.”

Kiryat Shmona and Hapoel Jerusalem played to a dry goalless draw up at the northern capital as the sides split the points.

“We earned a point at a very tough stadium and we will continue to battle,” Jerusalem coach Ziv Arie said following the game.

“We were dominant and played well but we were missing something in the final 30 meters of the pitch with a pass or goal,” Kiryat Shmona coach Slobodan Drapic noted.

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