RECAP: WEEKEND ISRAELI ACTION
Bryan Gerzicich and Hapoel Kiryat Shmona won again to remain in first place in the Israeli Premier League but Leo Krupnik and Netanya lost for the first time this season against Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona 1 –0 Hapoel Ramat Gan
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona remained in first place in the Israeli Premier League after a hard fought victory over Hapoel Ramat Gan on Monday night at Kiryat-Shmona Municipal Stadium.
American Bryan Gerzicich once again played a full 90 for the league leaders and has yet to miss a minute for his club this season.
In their previous game against Hapoel Tel Aviv on the road, Kiryat Shmona were impressive and decisively beat the defending champions 4-2.
In this game, however, Kiryat Shmona struggled from the opening kickoff against Hapoel Ramat Gan who are towards the bottom of the table thanks to a four point deduction in preseason because of financial irregularities.
Hapoel Ramat Gan was giving the hosts all they could handle but in the 38th minute Kiryat Shmona were awarded a penalty in a controversial manner.
When the ball was sent into the Ramat Gan's penalty area towards Gerzicich a slight positional battle took place between the American and Ramat Gan's Krum Bibishkov. Bibishkov apparently lost his balance and hit the ball with his arm on the way falling down.
Referee Ural Greenfield called the visitors for a hand ball in the box and pointed to the spot. Bibishkov and the rest of his teammates insisted that Gerzicich had pushed him down.
Ramat Gan continued to dispute the penalty call for a several minutes but it was to no avail.
Once the dust had settled, Macedonian forward Zoran Baldovaliev stepped up and converted the penalty for a one goal Kiryat Shmona lead.
In the second half, Kiryat Shmona thought they had a second goal when Salah Hasarma apparently scored from close range but the linesman's flag went up for offsides and the goal was disallowed.
Things would turn ugly a few minutes later in the 67th minute when Ramat Gan's head coach Shlomi Dora was shown a red card and ejected for persistent complaints towards Greenfield and the rest of the officiating crew.
The remainder of the game would conclude without a goal and Kiryat Shmona exited the game with a fortunate win and a valuable three points.
The Israeli Premier League will be off next weekend for the FIFA international break. Kiryat Shmona's star midfielder Elroy Cohen was named to the roster for Israel for the upcoming UEFA qualifiers. Cohen will hope to earn his first cap when Israel take on Croatia and Greece.
Following the break, Kiryat Shmona will return to action the weekend of October 16th when they visit fourth place Hapoel Haifa.
That same weekend, Hapoel Ramat Gan will host Maccabi Netanya.
Maccabi Netanya 1 –3 Hapoel Tel Aviv
Maccabi Netanya lost for the first time this season on Saturday when they were drubbed 3-1 at home against the defending champions Hapoel Tel Aviv.
American central defender Leo Krupnik went a full 90 for Maccabi Netanya.
Toto Tamuz opened the scoring for Hapoel Tel Aviv after he took a pass from Itay Shechter into the box and was able to unleash a shot from seven yards into the top of the net.
Maccabi Netanya tried to respond just a minute later when midfielder Hen Ezra rocketed a shot off the bar from just outside the box.
The score would remain unchanged until the 70th minute when Hapoel Tel Aviv would make it 2-0 on a goal from substitute Ben Sahar off a fantastic cross from Gil Vermuth.
Hapoel Tel Aviv would put the game out of reach in the 82nd minute when Itay Shechter headed home a cross from close range.
Maccabi Netanya got on the scoreboard in the 88th minute when Ofir Amram was tripped in the box by Hapoel Tel Aviv's keeper, Vincent Enyeama, who earned a yellow on the play despite pleas from Netanya players for a red card.
On the penalty, Maccabi Netyana captain Orel Dgani easily converted to make the score 3-1.
Unfortunately for Maccabi Netanya that is how the game would end and it would be their first loss of the season. They still sit in fifth place with eight points.
Following the international break, Maccabi Netanya will return to action the weekend of the October 16th when they will take on Hapoel Ramat Gan on the road.
Hapoel Tel Aviv next plays archrivals Maccabi Tel Aviv in their first game after the international break.
American defender Ryan Adeleye was an unused sub for Hapoel Be'er Sheva on Saturday in their 1-0 win over Bnei Sakhnin.