Soccer |

Two Mistakes Cost Beitar Big in Opener

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Three visiting soccer teams came away with 2-0 victories on the opening day of Israel’s Premier League Saturday .

Moshe Harush, Beitar’s goalkeeper, was supposed to be one of the players head coach Eli Cohen could count on, but visiting Be’er Sheva, under the stewardship of Elisha Levy, benefited from a couple of uncharacteristic miscues. Be’er Sheva scored its first goal in the 19th minute, starting with a terrific cross by Ofir Davidzada to Siraj Nassar, who headed the ball toward the goal. It hit Harush’s body and rolled into the net.

Beitar settled down after that and nearly equalized in the 74th minute, when Eden Nahmani hit the post. However, it could not penetrate Be’er Sheva’s defense after that and instead Be’er Sheva added to its lead in injury-time. The scoring play started with a simple free kick by Tomer Suissa, toward the center of the goal. Harush, under no pressure from the offense, simply missed the ball and it sailed into the net, sending nearly 4,000 Be’er Sheva fans into raptures.

Up in Acre, Maccabi Tel Aviv ambushed Hapoel Acre and then settled back on defense to claim a 2-0 opening day victory. Barak Itzhaki, back after a season abroad, needed just 48 seconds to score his first goal of the season. The team looked well coordinated, as Tal Ben Haim sent the ball to the middle of the penalty area, where Itzhaki waited and then took the chance.

Just six minutes later, Gal Alberman got things going for Maccabi. Two passes later, Rada Prica found Eran Zehavi, who floated the ball past Dudu Goresh to make it 2-0 to Maccabi.

Acre got close a couple of times, including a shot that hit the post in the 35th minute, but Maccabi showed its superiority in preventing any real threats to its lead.

Hapoel Haifa also joined in the 2-0 trend, beating shorthanded Ramat Hasharon. The hosts lost their first player in the 40th minute, when Asrat Megresa drew his second yellow card and was duly sent off. Still, Ramat Hasharon hung on for the next half hour. However, Maharan Lala broke through to give Haifa a 1-0 lead. Six minutes later, it was Zarko Korac’s turn to score.

Another Ramat Hasharon player was sent off four minutes later, burying any hopes of a comeback.

In the other two league matches Saturday, hosts Hapoel Ra’anana and Bnei Yehuda each won 1-0.

Siraj Nassar, in foreground, celebrating Hapoel Be'er Sheva goal against Beitar Jerusalem.Credit: Sharon Bukov

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