Hapoel Ra’anana missed out on the chance to close the gap on league leaders Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Be’er Sheva on Saturday, after it was held to a goalless draw away to Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Ra’anana, which remains unbeaten this season with two victories and three draws, stays in third place on nine points. The top two teams are in action today, with Maccabi Tel Aviv visiting Ashdod and Be’er Sheva taking on Maccabi Haifa.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Ramat Hasharon made it five defeats in five games so far this season, losing 2-0 at home to Beitar Jerusalem. Shai Haddad and Ethiopian-born Sintayehu Sallallich scored for Beitar.
Hapoel Acre grabbed its first win of the season with a 2-1 victory at home to Hapoel Haifa. Frenchman Steven Cohen grabbed both of the home team’s goals and Zarko Korac’s last-minute strike for Haifa proved to be nothing more than a consolation.
In the northern derby, Bnei Sakhnin held Kiryat Shmona to a 1-1 draw, despite having captain Khaled Khalaila sent off five minutes before the end of the first half. Muhammad Libau gave Sakhnin the lead midway through the second half, but David Manga – the first player from the Central African Republic to ply his trade in Israel – grabbed an equalizer in the 69th minute.
The highest-scoring game of the day, meanwhile, was played in south Tel Aviv, where Maccabi Petah Tikva ruthlessly saw off Bnei Yehuda, 4-2.
Former Bnei Yehuda midfielder Pedro Galvan – who became Petah Tikva’s record signing over the summer – inevitably opened the scoring, before Roei Dayan, back from a two-year stint in the Belgian league with Beerschot AC – added a second in the 34th minute. Zito pulled one back for the home team on the stroke of halftime, but Ifeanyi Emeghara restored Petah Tikva’s two-goal cushion on the hour. Gil Itzhak reduced the arrears once more in the 71st minute, but a penalty from Gidi Kanyuk sealed the win with 10 minutes left to play.