The city of Haifa is RED! WOW! What a great end to a terrific tense game. Hapoel Haifa needed to win to save Haim Silvas’s job. Maccabi Haifa wanted to show that they are not only the best team in Haifa but at the top of the league and better than Maccabi Tel Aviv who have won back to back titles. However, Barak Bachar’s squad did nether. After tying up the game on a late penalty, Liran Sardel pulled off the victory which probably saved Silvas’s job and also denied Maccabi Haifa the chance to say that yes, we are the best team. It’s clear that they are not. Amazingly, the Greens laid the proverbial egg, yet again.
Maccabi Tel Aviv just doesn’t look like the team we have gotten to know the last couple of seasons under Vladimir Ivic. Giorgos Donis hasn’t been able to make the impact at least at the league level that the former boss was able to. Sure, Donis is an experienced coach but defeating Hadera by only 1-0 via an own goal can’t be what the club had imagined when he took over the team. Maccabi has to pound a team like Hadera with the budget that they have, which is not even close to most squad’s in the league. The good news is that the Yellow & Blue have won two games in a row though and that’s 6 points to the good moving them up the table and are only 2 points off the first place side.
Who is the only undefeated team in Israeli soccer and in first place? If you guessed Kiryat Shemona you’d be correct. Now tell me, how many of you really did know that? Who in the world would have expected K8 to have 3 wins, 2 draws and 0 defeats after 5 contests? I don’t think any sane person would have, but here they are with 11 points right in the thick of things under Kobi Refuah. The amazing thing on top of that is how many goals they have given up. Just 2! Džiugas Bartkus has been brilliant in goal and was the reason the club took the 3 points over Bnei Yehuda.
Beer Sheva is having a rough time and it looks like Europa League competition is taking a toll on Yossi Abuksis’s team. Falling 2-0 to Ashdod at the port city is not what the Reds thought would be the result but they are having issues especially on defense which has been like swiss cheese of late. But we shouldn’t take anything away from ran Ben Shimon’s club who have have played quality soccer who also feature forward Sagiv Yehezkel who has been excellent with yet another goal as his name begins to circulate as a potential call up for the National Team.
Niso Avitan has done a nice job since taking over at Sakhnin and has now guided them to their first win of the season. Avitan will be getting former Israeli international’s Beram Kayal who spent the last decade in Britain first with Celtic and then with Brighton while also playing in the English Premier League. How did Sakhnin stun the Israeli soccer world by bringing in Kayal. Well it seemed his children wanted to come back home and with a 3 year deal plus having a place to work afterwards it made all the sense in the world for him to make the move. Many Israelis have failed in their return home after a career overseas, let’s hope that this won’t be the case with Kayal and that he will get the respect he undoubtedly deserves.