Hapoel Be’er Sheva rallied against host Hapoel Acre to extend its 100 percent record after three games with a 2-1 victory yesterday. Be’er Sheva last won its opening three matches in the 1974-75 season.
Bnei Sakhnin, Hapoel Ra’anana and Hapoel Haifa all stayed close with road wins to keep within two points of table-topping Be’er Sheva. Maccabi Tel Aviv, the only other team with a perfect record in the young season, will have a chance to catch Be’er Sheva when it hosts Maccabi Petah Tikva tonight.
In Acre, Brazilian midfielder Juliano Spadacio opened the scoring for the hosts in the 17th minute. Their lead held until nearly the end of the half, when striker Siraj Nasser equalized the match. Almost 10 minutes into the second half, midfielder Gal Harel netted Be’er Sheva’s second goal. Be’er Sheva then held on despite having Aviatar Iluz sent off in the 60th minute.
Hapoel Ra’anana’s 3-1 triumph at Ramat Hasharon spelled bad news for the coach of the newly promoted hosts. The loss was the third in a row since Ramat Hasharon’s debut, and coach Rafi Cohen paid for it as he became the first coach to get the ax this season.
Over at the Moshava in Petah Tikva, Hapoel Haifa sent Beitar to its second defeat of the season with a 1-0 victory. Beitar’s 8,000 raucous fans did whatever they could to give the team the feeling of playing at home, but coach Eli Cohen was unable to get his players to rise to the task.
A header by Lithuanian defender Tadas Kijanskas from Nebojsa Marinkovic’s free kick in the 24th minute gave Hapoel Haifa the winning lead. Cohen’s second-half substitutions failed to create any sparks.
Bnei Sakhnin topped Bnei Yehuda 4-2, taking a 2-1 halftime lead and then taking advantage of a shorthanded host after the referee sent off Rafi Dahan in the 70th minute. Bnei Yehuda was still trailing only 3-2 going into injury-time, but Ahmed Kasoum scored three minutes later to put the game out of reach.