Maccabi Tel Aviv returned to the winning track with a 3-1 victory over Kiryat Shmona this weekend when interim coach Barak Yitzhaki recorded his first victory in the northern capital.
With Yitzhaki – who served as the sports director – on the sidelines, Maccabi started the game with a slow decline to 1: 0 from a goal by Itamar Shabiru in the 28th minute for the hosts.
However, Brandy Quass released a stunning from just 12 yards and equaled even three minutes to end the injury of the first half. The visitors then took the lead in the second half after Luis Hernandez slammed the ball inside with a corner kick, and substitute Osama Khalaila added the third shot at the end of the game and took the three points.
“The training is new to me, but I will get used to it and confirm in this position as much as it takes,” Yitzhaki began. “In football you always have to have feelings. We didn’t think we would start the league the way we started and we would have to work hard and be united. We would still have to improve how we start games, but we managed to figure out how to get out of the hole we started today.”
In the south, Ashdod MK. And Maccabi Haifa played in an amusing 2-2 draw in the port city to score each point.
The Greens were first on the board when their corner kick fell over Gil Cohen from Ashdod and behind his goalkeeper, Yoav Jaffy, to an early 1-0 lead.
Kenny Saif found the equalizer through a flourishing Monterey ball and equalized Ashdod to 1: 1 in the 28th minute.
Barak Bachar’s squad returned to the lead in the 63rd minute when Tejron Cherry pounced on a rebound, but Or Inbron’s penalty goal six minutes later equalized again as each team earned a decent point.
“We led the game twice, but it’s a hard place to play,” Bachar said. “We did everything to win the game, but Ashdod is a quality team even though it did not have many opportunities. Still, when you advance twice in Ashdod, you have to find a way to win the game.”
Ashdod coach Ran Ben Shimon put the result in perspective.
“We could have won and we could have lost,” he explained. “We did a lot of great things in this game and Kenny Saif became one of our main players. As each game goes on, I feel like we get a better understanding of how we want to play and we keep getting better.”
Meanwhile, Maccabi Netanya and Hapoel Beer Sheva ended in a 1-1 draw when the two goals were scored with a difference of only one minute in the second half and the distribution of points at Netanya Stadium.
After a goalless first half in which the hosts lose Aviv Avraham to a straight red card due to a reckless tackle, Ramzi Spori broke the goal in the 65th minute when he distorted a free kick behind Danny Amos and in the Netanya goal to 1-0 lead.
However, just a minute later the hosts pulled the ball home when Abubakar Dumbia cleared a rebound to earn his side a point in a game with a short man.
“The 12th man was definitely the fans today,” Netanya coach Bnei Lem began. “I do not like to celebrate a draw, but it was like a victory and the players deserve a lot of credit. Be’er Sheva is a very strong team and when we got down to 10 players I brought in attacking players to see what we can do. Well done to the whole team.”
After a goalless first half, Shemesh – who came in as a substitute – took a wide ball from Guy Badash and put it behind Petah Tikva goalkeeper Arik Janko to take the win.
“I did not know we would win this game, but I knew that if we won then we would be officially accepted to the Premier League,” said excited Jerusalem coach Ziv Arieh. “We played some good games and knew that with a young staff and a low budget there had to be patience.”
In the north, Hapoel Haifa made Hapoel Hadera 3-0, when the Reds from Carmel received a mark from three different goal scorers to take the three points.
Alon Turgeman opened in the 18th minute while Liran Serdel doubled the lead just 10 minutes later. Alan Ozbolt added a third goal for Elisha Levy’s team that captured the victory against its home fans at the Sami Ofer Stadium.
“I am very pleased with the result and the effort the players have put in,” Levy said following the game. “We played like a team that rightly is at the top of the table. We controlled the game from start to finish and it was great that the fans enjoyed the game.”
Bnei Sakhnin also shocked Hapoel Tel Aviv 3-0 at Bloomfield Stadium to beat the embarrassed coach Sharon Mimar.
However, Kiel started with a penalty in the 32nd minute, while Motti Bershazki and Ibrahima Conte scored during the injury in the second half to rate the important victory at the beginning of the season.
“We played with our emotions today and the guys showed they can play with any team in the league,” Mimar said. “I am very proud and I want to make sure the club knows how to appreciate these types of victories. As long as there is peace in Sakhnin we can do pretty good things.”