RECAP: WEEKEND ISRAELI ACTION
Bryan Gerzicich and Hapoel Kiryat Shmona played to a disappointing draw with Hapoel Ashkelon but remain in first place in the Israel Premier League while Leo Krupnik and Maccabi Netanya drew Hapoel Haifa at home.
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona 2 – 2 Hapoel Ashkelon
League leaders Hapoel Kiryat Shmona battled to a disappointing tie with Hapoel Ashkelon on Saturday at Kiryat Shmona Municipal Stadium despite controlling most of the match and having most of the scoring opportunities.
Bryan Gerzicich started and played a full 90 for Hapoel Kiryat Shmona. The American central midfielder has started every game so far this season and has yet to be subbed out.
Hapoel Ashkelon started the game strong and opened the scoring in the fifth minute in fantastic fashion.
After being whistled for a foul in center of the field about 35 yards out from goal, forward Eran Levi elected to not pass and instead took a long distance shot.
Levi's left footed shot was a perfect bending drive that found itself into the top left corner of the goal to give the guests a lead.
In the 14th minute, Hapoel Kiryat Shmona would equalize through 21 year old Israeli international Elroy Cohen.
On the play, Adrian Rochet sent a ball into the box that Cohen controlled seven meters with his back towards to the goal.
He quickly took one touch and fired a slicing shot into the lower corner past Hapoel Ashkelon's Ghanaian keeper Stephen Ahorlu to equalize the game.
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona quickly equalized four minutes later in the 18th minute when a William Njovu shot would set off a mad scramble in the box that fullback Yaniv Lavi would eventually sneak past Ahorlu off his own rebound to give the hosts another lead.
In the 34th minute, Levi would equalize for the visitors when he would collect the ball near the top of the box and fire a terrific left footed shot to the lower right corner.
The action would die down in the second half as Hapoel Ashkelon appeared content to play for the draw.
Cohen had the best opportunity for Kiryat Shmona in the second half in the 46th minute when he was sent in alone against Ahorlu who made a nice save on a low driving shot.
In the 90th minute tempers flared and Yaniv Lavi and Hapoel Ashkelon midfielder Ravid Gazal exchanged shoves with a fight nearly breaking out.
Both players were shown red cards and will miss their teams' next game.
For Hapoel Ashkelon, the draw lifted them into seventh place with 10 points through round seven. Next weekend they will host fifth place Maccabi Netanya.
For Hapoel Kiryat Shmona, they remain in first place in the Israeli Premier League with 17 points and are two points clear of second place Maccabi Tel Aviv. Next weekend they will travel to take on ninth place Hapoel Acre.
Maccabi Netanya 1–1 Hapoel Haifa
Maccabit Netanya entered into the game as heavy favorites when they hosted struggling Hapoel Haifa but walked away disappointed with a draw at Sar-Tov stadium.
Maccabi Netanya scored early in the eighth minute when Hen Ezra headed home from six meters a cross from the right side by Nir Nachum.
In the second half, Maccabi Netanya would lose their control on the match when Argentine defender Mariano Caporale picked up a red card for a blatant foul just outside the box.
Hapoel Haifa capitalized just seven minutes later in the 68th minute when Amir Abu Nil, who had entered the game as a substitute only five minutes earlier, intercepted a poor clearance on the right side and moved into the box to fire home a shot to the near post past Maccabi Netanya keeper Carlos Arias.
The 1-1 draw dropped Maccabi Netanya down one spot to fifth place with 12 points through seven rounds.
Next weekend they will travel to take on Hapoel Ashkelton in the eighth round of the season.
Hapoel Haifa has moved up one spot to eighth place with 10 points.
Next weekend, the Sharks will return home to host second place Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Ryan Adeleye made his second straight appearance for Hapoel Be'er Sheva on Saturday when they played to a scoreless draw at home against Hapoel Petah Tikva. The New Jersey native entered into the game in the 82nd minute.