Bayern in Sights, Haifa Stays Perfect

It was almost too easy. So easy that Maccabi Haifa could have just stood in place and still have netted three points.

Four days before its UEFA Champions League away match against Bayern Munich, Haifa marked the occasion with a 4-1 romp over an outclassed Ahi Nazareth side on goals from Yaniv Katan, Vladimir Dvalishvili, Shlomi Arbeitman and Biram Kayal.

The win keeps Haifa perfect in the Premier League, with 30 points from 10 wins and not a single draw or loss. Now if only it could get that first Champions League goal in Munich, its fans would truly have reason to celebrate.

"It's challenging for us to remain perfect," coach Elisha Levy said nonchalantly after the win.

Second-place Hapoel Tel Aviv registered an even more emphatic win last night, schooling Hapoel Petah Tikva 7-1 on a hat-trick from Itay Shechter, assisted by an able supporting cast of Dedi Ben Dayan, Maaran Lala, Gil Vermouth and Eran Zehavi.

Petah Tikva's other team, Maccabi, may have enjoyed better luck yesterday than its crosstown rival, as coach Ronny Levy announced he would be resigning.

After the team's 2-1 loss to Bnei Sakhnin yesterday - leaving it just a hair above the relegation zone - Levy told management officials he would take responsibility for its failings, and offered to step down.

The club's management readily agreed.

Levy told the sports Web site ONE, "I tried to succeed with this club but I wasn't able to achieve what I wanted. I'm not sorry that I came here, but the responsibility is mine."

The team, currently ninth in the league, has had only one win in its last five matches.