Maccabi Tel Aviv got by Maccabi Netanya 2-1 as Eran Zahavi’s second half penalty was the difference maker for the hosts as they collected the 3-points and the win. Felicio Milson gave the yellow-and-blue the lead off a Dan Bitton ball in the 19th minute but a number of errors by the Maccabi defense allowed Itamar Shviro the opportunity to draw even two minutes later.
The diamond city side had a chance to take the lead early on in the second half but Eitan Azoulay’s penalty was saved by an alert Orlando Mosquera, however, in the 54th minute Maccabi had a penalty of their own that Eran Zahavi slotted home as the hosts took the points.
“Netanya are a good club and played well,” head coach Robbie Keane said of his club’s opponent. “We scored early and conceded soon thereafter which is something that shouldn’t happen. Sometimes you need to win ugly as there are always going to be these type of tough games. I liked the character we showed in the second half and the pressure that the players displayed.”
“We could have gotten more out of this game without question,” Netanya bench boss Ron Kozuk said. “We had many chances in the first half and even after the score was 2-1 we stayed in the game and played long balls. We are going the right direction but it’s not enough as we need to win as well.”
Maccabi Haifa defeated Hapoel Haifa 3-0 thanks to Lior Refaelov’s brace as the Carmel Mountain was painted all in green thanks to the victory. Refaelov, who returned to Israel after a decade of playing in Belgium gave Maccabi a quick 1-0 lead off a 4th minute free kick while he doubled the advantage via a header in the 58th minute. Dean David then sealed the win with an injury time marker to give Messay Dego’s team the 3-points.
“We knew that this game was going to be a big test after what we did last week in Greece,” Dego began following the match. “I’m happy as we picked up a big victory and an important one. This was crucial for the fans and the club and we spoke about this over the past few days.”
“This is a very disappointing loss,” Hapoel Haifa coach Roni Levi said. “We came in with good energy and desire and we were looking to play attacking football and score. However, the game started the worst way possible as we went into a hole in the 4th minute against a very high quality Maccabi Haifa team.