Maccabi Tel Aviv opened up a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League on Saturday night, thanks to a resounding 4-0 victory over bottom side Hapoel Acre at Bloomfield Stadium in Jaffa.
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With Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa currently second and third respectively playing each other on Sunday, the victory was a much-needed boost for Maccabi following its shock defeat to Ashdod last week.
Dor Micha opened the scoring for Maccabi after just eight minutes, and when captain Shiran Yeini added a second four minutes later, the game was effectively over.
In the second half, two goals from the league’s top scorer, Eliran Atar, moved him up to 16 for the season and ensured that there was to be no way back into the match for Acre.
Elsewhere, Beitar Jerusalem’s eight-game run without a defeat came to a controversial end at Teddy Stadium when Bnei Yehuda’s Amir Agajev scored the only goal of the game from what appeared to be an offside position three minutes before halftime.
The game will be remembered, however, because of a horrific injury to on-loan defender Sari Falah, who broke his ankle midway through the second half. According to Bnei Yehuda coach Dror Kashtan, the injury is even more serious than at first thought and the player will be absent for several months.
In other games, Ramat Hasharon continued its unpredictable form with a 4-0 road win over Bnei Sakhnin. Nigerian striker Udo Fortune scored twice, Argentine forward Adrian Fernandez added a penalty and Asael Ben Shabat rounded off the scoring in the last minute.
Saturday’s two other games both ended in draws. Champion Kiryat Shmona which now hasn’t won in five games was held to a goalless draw by Ashdod, while Netanya needed a last-minute equalizer from Omer Peretz to earn a point against Hapoel Ramat Gan.