Hapoel Be’er Sheva stands atop the Premier League table after a surprisingly comfortable 2-0 win over Hapoel Tel Aviv in the Negev capital yesterday.
Maor Buzaglo, who returned to Israel in the summer following a period of underachievement in Europe, was Be’er Sheva’s ace, setting up both his team’s goals and marshaling the midfield.
In the 36th minute, Buzaglo crossed for Siraj Nassar to head the ball past Danny Amos in the Tel Aviv goal. Buzaglo then set up Elyaniv Barda to double the lead only 22 seconds into the second half.
As for Hapoel Tel Aviv, whose season has opened poorly having crashed out of the Europa League qualifiers and a drab goalless draw with Bnei Sakhnin in the Premier League opener, coach Ran Ben-Shimon will have his work cut out to bring the former powerhouse back into contention for trophies this season.
The players of Beitar Jerusalem managed to forget the club’s off-field problems, producing a fine performance to come out 3-1 winners at newly promoted Maccabi Petah Tikva.
That result looked most unlikely after Omer Golan put the hosts ahead only 40 seconds. But Beitar was awarded a questionable penalty in the 19th minute that Shai Hadad converted. Itzik Cohen put the visitors ahead five minutes after the break, and Zahi Elihen completed the scoring two minutes before the end of the game.
Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona - two seasons ago the Cinderella team of Israeli soccer that ran away with the league title for the first time in its history - returned to title-winning form yesterday with a 4-1 demolition of Ramat Hasharon in front of a paltry 400 spectators. Following a goalless, incident-free first half, the hosts came out fighting after the break and Serbian defender Dusan Matovic opened the scoring soon after. Kiryat Shmona striker David Manga, from the Central African Republic, added a brace and Ofir Mizrahi the fourth, before Hassan Sayif scored a consolation goal for the visitors in the game’s dying minutes.
Newly promoted Hapoel Ra’anana showed no inferiority complex yesterday, coming away from the Kiryat Eliezer Stadium with a deserved 1-1 draw with Hapoel Haifa. The visitors took an early lead through Nigerian striker Anthony Nwakaeme as the Haifa defense slept, and almost doubled the lead a few minutes later.
But just before half time a Ra’anana defender handled in the box, and Haifa’s Serbian midfielder Nebojsa Marinkovic scored from the penalty spot to achieve parity.
Hapoel Acre came within a minute of earning its first Premier League point of the season, but then in the 90th minute Moshe Mishaelof fouled Bnei Sakhnin’s Mohammed Kalibat in the box, earning the home side a penalty and himself a red card. Kalibat kept his cool to blast the ball home for the slenderest of victories for the hosts.