Hapoel Tel Aviv came back from a 1-0 deficit in the first half to salvage a 1-1 draw with champion Maccabi Haifa yesterday in one of the best clashes of the season seen so far.
A superb strike from 18 meters by Yigal Antebi canceled out Igbeni Yakubu's fisrt-half effort in a match which attracted some 14,000 spectators and was an excellent show-case for the local game following last weekend's dour performances.
In other results of note, Maccabi Kiryat Gat took all three points from Betar Jerusalem in their 2-1 win at Teddy Stadium, it was their first-ever victory in Premier League action, and they managed the feat at the fifth time of asking. Hapoel Haifa had little trouble in cruising past Ashdod SC 6-1 at Kiryat Eliezer.
Hapoel TA 1, Maccabi Haifa 1. In the 21st minute the combination of Yossi Benayoun and Yakubu led to Haifa's goal after Benayoun controlled a cross from the right by Avishai Janno to set it up for Yakoubu. The young Nigerian international slid the ball to the left of Hapoel's stand-in keeper Nir Rachmin to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
Hapoel's equalizer came in the 81st minute when Antebi charged at Haifa's goal, breaking free of Giovanni Rosso and releasing a thunderbolt from outside the area, which left the excellent Dudu Awat with no chance of stopping the ball.
Betar Jerusalem 1, Maccabi Kiryat Gat 2. Newly promoted Kiryat Gat delivered the upset of the weekend by winning at Betar's stronghold, Teddy Stadium.
Some 10,000 home supporters had hoped for a repeat of last week's heroics in which the ailing Jerusalem club held its own before going down to Maccabi Haifa, but it all fell apart for them yesterday. Ten minutes after the start, Ephraim Inbrum, who had scored all his team's goals until that point, headed the visitors into the lead. They increased their lead in the 57th minute when Giorgi Kipiani's powerful shot beat Itzik Kornfein in the Betar goal.
Viktor Pacha gave the home team some hope with a goal four minutes later, but that was all Betar could manage.
Hapoel Haifa 6, Ashdod SC 1. Coach Guy Levy guided his charges to their third
win in four matches, and what a win it was.
Oren Nissim put the home side in front after five minutes before Ashdod captain Alon Hazan leveled four minutes later.
But Haifa would not be denied as further strikes from Michael Anicic, who scored the next two, and Nissim added another, and Oleg Yeleshev and Eli Abrabanel sealed the score line.
Hapoel Petah Tikva 1, Ironi Rishon 1. Petah Tikva took the lead four minutes before the interval when Motti Kakkon acrobatically volleyed high into the net.
Shai Holtzman leveled the score with a spectacular effort of his own that beat Ohad Cohen from a tight angle in the 58th minute.
Maccabi Netanya 1, Maccabi Petah Tikva 1. On Friday, Kobi Refuah scored and early goal in the opening minute to give Petah Tikva the lead. Substitute Zachi Illuz leveled the score to insure the points were shared.
In action today, Hapoel Be'er Sheva hosts Maccabi Tel Aviv at Wassermil Stadium.
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