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Israel News

Maccabi Haifa retains grip on pole position

CM 10/05/2021 1

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Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa played to a 2-2 draw on Sunday night at Bloomfield Stadium in a game that saw all four goals scored in the first half as the Greens moved closer to securing their first Israel Premier League title in a decade.

Haifa holds a four-point lead over the yellow-and-blue atop the table with only three games remaining as Barak Bachar’s squad inched closer to the championship as the sides split the points.
Yonatan Cohen swung a perfect corner kick into the box as Eitan Tibi was able to get the ball by keeper Josh Cohen to give Tel Aviv a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute. Patrick van Leeuwen’s team doubled the advantage when striker Aleksandar Pesic made his way by Haifa central defender Bogdan Planic and put the ball into the corner of the goal for a 2-0 advantage.
However, Haifa maintained its composure and pulled a goal back in the 36h minute as Godsway Donio scored from in close.
The Greens then tied up the match three minutes later when Tjaron Chery beat Maccabi ’keeper Daniel Tenenbaum cleanly in the box after taking an Omer Atzily pin-point perfect pass as each team took a point following a goalless second half.
The two teams will face each other once again on Wednesday night in the Israel State Cup semifinals. The winner will then go on to face the winner of the other semifinal between Hapoel Tel Aviv and Beitar Tel Aviv Bat Yam, which will take place on Tuesday night.
“The result was definitely a good one for us after the start we had,” said Haifa coach Bachar. “To come back from a 2-0 deficit isn’t something that I take for granted and I have to credit the players. You can prepare as much as you can, but when you give up an early goal everything turns upside down. We came back like winners.”

Van Leeuwen, meanwhile, rued the missed opportunity for his yellow-and-blue squad.
“We had a great start,” he said. “We could have gone up 3-0, but we didn’t and they scored two easy goals and controlled the game. We had to be more aware on the set-pieces. We will play until the end.”
In other action, Maccabi Petah Tikva downed Ironi Kiryat Shmona 2-1 to give Guy Luzon’s side the three points, moving it a step closer to clinching a place in European competition.
Israeli starlet Liel Abada split the northerners defense and sent a scorcher into the goal in the 22nd minute, and four minutes later Englishman Morgan Ferrier doubled the advantage to give Petah Tikva a 2-0 lead.
The hosts pulled a marker back in the 61st minute when Roie Kehat found the back of the goal, but that would be the closest that Kobi Refuah’s squad would get as the visitors took the win.
“This was a money-time game for us and we had a great first half,” said a satisfied Luzon. “In the second half Kiryat Shmona threw everything they had at us and we had to backpedal a bit. We had a tough time, but I am very happy that we were able to come up big.”
Refuah commented on his team’s fate.
“We may have a slim chance [to get into Europe] but it’s quite far off right now,” he noted. “We didn’t come to play in the first quarter and in the second we had time to draw even, but we weren’t accurate enough and made unwise decisions. We will continue on.”
Elsewhere, Bnei Yehuda slipped by Hapoel Tel Aviv 1-0 ahead of the Reds ‘appearance later in the week in the Israel State Cup semifinals against Leumit League outfit Beitar Tel Aviv Bat Yam.
Amir Rustum scored a late 86th-minute goal to give Yossi Abukasis’s team the win and the three points.
“I had a tough dilemma as we have such an important game coming up,” said Hapoel Tel Aviv coach Nir Klinger. “If I had a roster that was healthy, I wouldn’t have gone with such a makeshift lineup. We have some injuries and there is no way to hide the fact that we are concentrating on the State Cup.”
Up north, Hapoel Haifa defeated Hapoel Kfar Saba 3-2 in an entertaining game at Sammy Ofer Stadium. The Reds scored a trio of goals in the first half – by Ruslan Barsky, Alon Turgeman and William Agada.
Timoti Muzie pulled a goal back and Omer Fadida scored from the penalty spot for Kfar Saba to get to within one goal, but Elisha Levy’s squad was able to hold on for the win despite losing Miki Siroshtein to a red card.
“Football is all about momentum,” Levy explained following the win. “This was an excellent game and we were playing very well, but the red card put a wrench into our plan as Kfar Saba put many players forward. We had to suffer to win the game but that is also something we have to know how to do.”
Also, Hapoel Hadera and Maccabi Netanya drew 2-2 to split the points at the Netanya Stadium.
Ivory Coast central defender Jonathan Cisse headed home a Maxim Plakuschenko free kick to give Menachem Koretzky’s team an early 1-0 lead, but Lameck Banda scored for Netanya in the 42nd minute to tie the game up by the break.
An own-goal by Tal Kahila gave Raymond Atteveld’s side a 2-1 lead, but Liran Rotman came right back for Hadera to once again level the score as each team took a point.
“We missed some good opportunities,” Koretzky explained. “The players gave their all and although it’s too bad we didn’t do enough. I am proud of them. We deserved to win and it’s disappointing to draw.”
“This was a crazy game and I am not happy as to how we gave up the first goal,” said Atteveld. “We knew that Cisse was going to get to the ball and we gave them a gift. We needed to control the ball more and I am not happy about how the defensive midfielders lost the balls, giving them a chance to score.”
In the capital city, Beitar Jerusalem upended Bnei Sakhnin 3-1 as Yarden Shua scored a brace at Teddy Stadium to give the hosts the win.
Ori Magbo gave Yossi Mizrachi’s squad a 1-0 lead thanks to fine play by Shua while the two combined once again for a second goal by the latter later in the first half to give Beitar a 2-0 lead.
Shua scored his second goal of the match via a 72nd-minute penalty, and five minutes later Osama Khalaila broke up ’keeper Itamar Nitzan’s clean sheet.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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