Victory was sweet in MTA's 3-1 victory over Maccabi Haifa, courtesy of goals by Rade Prica, Sheran Yeini and Barak Yitzhaki

Last night at Bloomfield Stadium, Maccabi Tel Aviv pressed forward with their run of league victories with an impressive 3-1 triumph over Maccabi Haifa, with goals provided by striker Rade Prica, team captain Sheran Yeini and striker Barak Yitzhaki, whose overhead jewel may very well be the goal of the season. Striker Alon Turgeman pulled one back for the visitors, who were down to ten men just after the restart when defender Sari Falah was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Within the opening five minutes of the first half, MTA midfielder Mahran Radi released two long range efforts, the first slicing wide and the second saved valiantly by Haifa's Serbian keeper Bojan Saranov. Maccabi Haifa, too, tried their luck and on the ten minute mark midfielder Hen Ezra displayed skill in getting free in the middle of the area and releasing a shot that bounced down off the crossbar and was subsequently smothered by MTA keeper Juan Pablo. A minute later MTA midfielder Eran Zahavi shot over the goal and his repeated attempt six minutes after that was mastered by Saranov. Five minutes before half time Haifa were awarded a free kick just outside the Maccabi area and the Spanish midfielder Ruben Rayos curled a clever ball that Juan Pablo skillfully palmed away at a stretch.

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A minute after the restart Haifa were down to ten men after defender Sari Falah handled a long ball to receive his second yellow card and an invitation to leave the pitch. Maccabi Tel Aviv waited just three minutes to capitalise on Haifa's numerical deficit when a splendid corner by Mahran Radi into the area was met by Rade Prica who headed into the net to put the home side ahead 1-0. Seven minutes later Maccabi Tel Aviv doubled their advantage in a sequence that also began with a Mahran Radi cross. This time it was team captain Sheran Yeini who determinedly exploited the ensuing scramble in front of goal and in his second effort powered past the Haifa keeper with an outstretched leg. Maccabi Haifa continued to search for ways to get back into the match and were rewarded with 25 minutes remaining when striker Alon Turgeman made a run down the left flank and cleverly passed MTA defender Eytan Tibi to slam past Juan Pablo from a difficult angle. But just as the contest seemed to be tightening up, Mahran Radi made his own charge down the pitch five minutes later and sent a long cross towards Barak Yitzhaki inside the area. The veteran MTA striker took it on the volley in an overhead kick that sent the ball flying into the far corner of the visitors' net for what will surely be one of the goals of the season. Despite the home side's already comfortable lead, the final twenty minutes saw midfielder Nikola Mitrovic and defender Yoav Ziv attempt to widen the margin of victory, but at the final whistle the scoreboard read 3-1 in Maccabi Tel Aviv 's favour, widening their lead at the top of the Israeli Premier League table to six points.


Next Monday, Maccabi Tel Aviv will travel north for an 8.50pm away encounter with Ironi Kiryat Shmona.