BRIAN SCIARETTA - Sunday, January 15, 2012
Bryan Gerzicich and Hapoel Kiryat Shmona defeated Bnei Sakhnin to open up commanding lead in the Israeli Premier League while Leo Krupnik and Maccabi Netanya played to a draw against Hapoel Acre.
Bnei Sakhnin 2-3 Hapoel Kiryat Shmona
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona passed another significant test on Saturday when they walked away with all three points in an away matchup against fourth place Bnei Sakhnin in the pouring rain.
Los Angeles born Bryan Gerzicich was effective for Kiryat Shmona in the defensive midfield as he started and went the distance.
The game did not get off to a good start for Kiryat Shmona when Bnei Sakhnin midfielder moved down the right side in the 20th minute and sent in a low cross that found Eric Gawu who sent in a diving header the snuck across the line just past Kiryat Shmona keeper Danny Amos for a 1-0 lead.
Five minutes later in the 25th minute Kiryat Shmona notched an equalizer when Shimon Abuhaztera sent a low shot from the right side that beat Bnei Sakhnin keeper Mahmud Kannadli to the far post to even the score at 1-1.
In the 44th minute, Kiryat Shmona moved ahead when Dusan Matovic sent in a cross from the left side that newly acquired striker David Solari was able to powerfully head past Kannadli off the crossbar and over the line for a 2-1 lead.
Just one minute later in the 45th minute, Kiryat Shmona found the back of the net again when midfielder Adi Elisha sent a low shot from 20 yards that beat Kannadli just inside the left post for a commanding 3-1 lead just before half.
In the second half, Kiryat Shmona controlled their lead but Bnei Sakhnin cut the deficit in half in the 81st minute when Radi sent in a looping long ball from the left side that found Bulgarian forward Kostadin Hazurov to make the score 3-2.
Kiryat Shmona's win along with second place Ashdod's scoreless draw on Saturday means that Kiryat Shmona's lead is now eight points in the Israeli Premier Leauge. They have only lost once all season and they have allowed just 10 goals.
Next Saturday Kiryat Shmona return to action when they host sixth place Ironi Ramat Hasharon FC.
Maccabi Netanya 1-1 Hapoel Acre
Maccabi Netanya played to a disappointing draw at home on Saturday against Hapoel Acre and squandered a opportunity to move into the top five in the Israeli Premier League.
Soviet Union-born American Leo Krupnik started and went the distance for Netanya in central defense.
Hen Ezra gave the hosts the lead in the 23rd minute when he collected the ball just outside the box. He then moved into the left side of the box after dribbled past several defenders. He finished off his run with an unstoppable left-footed shot from 10 yards for a 1-0 lead.
In the 65th minute, Hapoel Acre equalized through halftime substitute Guy Dayan. On the play Dayan took a terrific pass from Sintiahau Solelik and fired a shot from 8 yards past Ido Levy to even the score at 1-1.
With the draw, Maccabi Netanya now sit in eighth place with 30 points through 21 games. The standings remain tight as they are only three points out of fourth place.
Next Saturday Maccabi Netanya travel down the coast to take on third place Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Ryan Adeleye did not dress for Hapoel Be'er Sheva on Saturday in their 4-0 loss to Maccabi Tel Aviv.