Nicolaescu scored 4 as Beitar blasts Netanya, Beer Sheva slips by Ashdod, Hapoel TLV + Hapoel Haifa draw

Dec 17, 2022 | Football

Beitar Jerusalem smashed Maccabi Netanya 6-3 as Ion Nicolaescu scored four goals to help the yellow-and-black to the big win at Teddy Stadium. Nicolaescu scored early and often as he opened the game up by finding the corner of Itamar Nitzan’s net in the 3rd minute, while the striker doubled the advantage just minutes later as he went around the keeper and tapped home the ball for a 2-0 lead. Nicolasescu played facilitator in the 19th minute when he handed the ball off to Danilo Asprilla who fired home the Beitar’s 3rd goal and Trazie Thomas closed out the half by giving Yossi Abuksis’s side a 4-0 lead by the break.

However, Netanya began to mount a comeback as Eden Kartzev scored from 25 meters out in the 59th minute while Igor Zlatanovic headed home Karam Jaber’s cross just a minute later to cut the lead to 4-2. Zlatanovic completed a brace via a 72nd minute penalty after a Thomas handball to narrow the gap to 4-3 but Kartzev was issued a red card to leave Ron Kozuk’s team with just ten men in the 73rd minute. From that point on it was all Nicolasecu once again with his third and fourth goals of the game to wrap up an entertaining 6-3 victory.

“This was one of the craziest games that I have ever coached,” Abuksis said. “On one hadn’t we had a fantastic first half and then we had tweety awful minutes, perhaps the worst that I have ever seen. We lost so many balls and it was the exact opposite of what i wanted to see. We will need to learn from those poor minutes of play.”

“We can’t give up six goals and what occurred to us on defense was just sad,” Kozuk explained. “This is what happens when the players don’t play with our clear values. When they do then we get what we saw in those twenty minutes that we dominated to begin the second half.

Nicolaescu also spoke about his 4-goal game, “I am in great shape right now and I am happy that I was able to score some goals and help the team out. I have scored in the Toto Cup, State Cup and now in the league so I am very satisfied.”

Hapoel Beer Sheva slipped by Ashdod 1-0 as Rotem Hatuel scored late in the second half to take the points and the win at the port city.

“This was an important win,” Beer Sheva bench boss Elyaniv Barda began. “This was a real battle and we knew that Ashdod would play a very tight defensive line. We were focused and ready for this game after having fallen just days ago in the State Cup.”

“We played well and we were able to keep Beer Sheva from creating chances,” a disappointed Ashdod coach Ran Ben Shimon said. “It was a 0-0 game for the most part and a goal here or there was going to win the game. We weren’t sharp enough to score that goal.”

Goal scorer Rotem Hatuel looked back at the match, “I always give my all and it doesn’t matter where I begin the game whether on the field or the bench. It’s very difficult to win at Ashdod and we took the loss in the State Cup here very hard and we knew that we had to win this game.”

Hapoel Tel Aviv mounted a comeback to draw 3-3 with Hapoel Haifa at an empty Bloomfield Stadium due to a penalty levied against the Tel Aviv fans from their actions at the Derby earlier in the season. Eliel Peretz scored his first goal since retuning to Israel to give the Carmel Reds a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute. Liran Sardel was yanked down in the box and Gal Arel converted the spot kick to give the visitors a 2-0 advantage at halftime.

Alen Ozbolt scored in close to cut the lead to 2-1 but Alon Turgeman scored in the 71st minute to bump the lead back up to a 2-goal advantage. Ben Bitton found Or Israelov in the box as the latter headed the ball home in the 78th minute and six minutes later Ziv Zrihan knotted the game up at 3-3 as the squads split the points.

“We gave up a pair of goals from set pieces,” Tel Aviv coach Slobodan Drapic said. “There is no question that we need to play with a full squad and we saw that when the substitutes came on in the second half. We have a mix of veterans and youngsters and after the long break for the World Cup, I am content with the result.”

“This is disappointing as we had expectations for much more,” Haifa bench box Roni Levi explained. “We played against an opponent that is at our level and we weren’t good enough yet. We need to strengthen our squad and we need to lift ourselves up.”

Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Hadera played to a goalless draw at the Netanya Stadium to split the points.

“We should have won the game and we were much better creating 4-5 chances that should have been enough,” Jerusalem coach Ziv Arie said. “I would have been very happy should we have been able to score. The players did what was asked of them and we should have won, but a point in any case is always good.”

“We played with a very short handed lineup,” Hadera assistant coach Nimrod Kostika commented. “This isn’t an excuse and we had some tough days after we were eliminated from the State Cup. We were more dangerous in this game even when they controlled the ball. We didn’t want to lose after falling to Kfar Saba and we drew which was a good result.”

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