Hapoel Tel Aviv looked terrible on Sunday night, losing to middling Ramat Hasharon 1-0 to drop its first Premier League game of the season. An imbalance between the forward and back lines of the team undid Hapoel's offense and exposed it on defense, allowing Adrian Fernandez's 32nd minute goal to be just enough for the upset.
While Hapoel's weakness on defense against Atletico Madrid on Thursday was understandable, the ease with which Ramat Hasharon reached Apoula Edel should deeply concern Hapoel's coaching staff.
Fernandez had not played since last year's violent match between Hapoel Ramat Gan and Bnei Lod, and showed a lot of motivation on the pitch. He headed in the winner off a cross from Kobi Musa.
Even after Ramat Hasharon's Moshe Abutbul was sent off with his second yellow card in the 65th minute, Hapoel Tel Aviv failed to penetrate, its players taking shots on goal from 20 and 30 meters out. "Perhaps the players thought that quality alone would do the job, and it's not enough," said Hapoel coach Nitzan Shirazi after the match. "You have to want it first and foremost."
Tonight, Hapoel's crosstown rival Maccabi Tel Aviv will try to stay perfect when it hosts reigning champion Kiryat Shmona. Hassan Abouzeid and Welsh international Roberto Earnshaw will be making their debuts for the Yellows.
Oscar Garcia, head coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv, described Abouzeid as a young player whom the team brought in for the long run.
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