BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, January 9, 2012
Bryan Gerzicich and Hapoel Kiryat Shmona maintained their firm grip on first place in the Israeli Premier League while Leo Krupnik and Maccabi Netanya suffered a disappointing defeat to Beitar Jerusalem.
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona 2 - 0 Hapoel Rishon LeZion
Kiryat Shmona's improbable season continued on Saturday as the tiny club posted their sixth straight shutout to maintain a surprising six point lead in the Israel Premier League.
Los Angeles native Bryan Gerzicich has been key to the team's defensive success and he went the distance as usual but picked up a yellow card in the 90th minute.
Kiryat Shmona dominated the game throughout and got on board first in the 16th minute when Shimon Abulaztera collected a poor clearance and blasted home a powerful shot from 22 yards past Rishon LeZion keeper Ohad Cohen for a 1-0 lead.
In the 48th minute Kiryat Shmona found a second goal through Adrian Rochet who tapped in a shot after Ahmad Abed's shot from the left side whet off the post and fell to Rochet's feet for the easy finish and a 2-0 lead.
With the win, Kiryat Shmona now have 45 points through 20 games. They have only allowed eight goals all season and they have a six point lead on second place Ashdod.
Next up is an away matchup next weekend against fourth place Bnei Sakhnin.
Beitar Jerusalem 2 - 1 Maccabi Netanya
Maccabi Netanya's two game winning streak was snapped on Saturday as they were unable to contain Beitar Jerusalem and their French midfielder Steve Cohen.
Soviet Union-born American Leo Krupnik started and went the distance for Maccabi Netanya and earned a yellow card in the 60th minute.
Cohen scored his first goal of the game in the 25th minute when Brazilian forward hit a header that fell right to Cohen who then sent it past Netanya keeper Amir Edri for a 1-0 lead.
Maccabi Netanya evened the score at 1-1 in the 75th minute when a defensive breakdown allowed Netanya's Hen Ezra to move into the box alone and find Nir Nachum who converted the equalizer.
Cohen gave the hosts the lead for good in the 86th minute when he moved into the box and sent a shot from 13 yards past Edri for a 2-1 lead which is how the game would end.
Maccabi Netanya return home next weekend to face Hapoel Acre at Sar Tov Stadium.
Ryan Adeleye was an unused substitute for Hapoel Be'er Sheva in their 1-1 home draw against Hapoel Tel Aviv.