Maccabi Tel Aviv slips by Beitar Jerusalem, Bnei Reineh stun Maccabi Haifa

Mar 10, 2024 | Football

Maccabi Tel Aviv slipped by Beitar Jerusalem 1-0 as Dor Bitton scored a 45th minute penalty after Dor Turgeman had been pulled down in the box handing the yellow-and-blue the 3-points and the win to keep them atop the table ahead of their UEFA Conference League round of 16 second leg clash against Olympiacos.

“This was a character win,” Maccabi Tel Aviv head coach Robbie Keane said following the game. “This was not the type of match we needed after Europe as Beitar really pressed us. I had said after the Olympiacos game that I would know after this contest what I learned about the team and I did learn that we have plenty of character.”

“It’s going to come, I am sure that it will,” Beitar bench boss Barak Itzhaki commented. “I am coming out of this game with plenty of compliments but no points which is too bad because we want to collect some. I really believe that they are coming as the guys are showing plenty of character and they’ve learnt a tremendous amount in such a short period of time.”

Bnei Reineh stunned Maccabi Haifa 2-1 thanks to a pair of late goals to give Sharon Mimer’s team, the points and a place in the championship playoffs. Anan Khalaili scored a 16th minute penalty to give the greens a 1-0 lead, but quick goals by Shlomi Azulay in the 65th minute and another by Kayes Ganem a few minutes later handed the hosts the 3-points. Haifa will now prepare to face Fiorentina on Thursday in Conference League action in Italy.

“It’s hard to describe in words what we did here at Reineh so far this season,” Mimer said following the win. “If you look at us we are probably the smallest club. In terms of tradition, fan base that we are still building and conditions we are working on all of that but we have a special bond between the owner, players and staff. We are all united towards the same goal and we did something really big here so far.”

“I have awful feelings from this game,” Haifa coach Messay Dego began. “I believe that we came in well and began the game in good shape as we took a lead. But I knew that we were going to have problems in the second half. I told the guys we needed to score a second goal and go up 2-0 to finish off the game but instead the last 45 minutes were a catastrophe and we didn’t deserve to win.”

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