Hosts Maccabi Tel Aviv were held to a goalless draw by Beitar Jerusalem at Sammy Ofer Stadium on Monday in a fast-paced game that lacked accuracy and inventive play by both teams.

Maccabi held the vast majority of possession and put the ball in the net once, but from an offisde position, and had a number of other reasonable chances. Beitar, although playing mostly in their own half, also had a clutch of their own attempts on the Maccabi goal but never looked like seriously threatening Daniel Tenenbaum’s goal. 

It was a fourth goalless draw for Maccabi this season, and the first time in eight years that either of these two clubs have failed to get a decisive result against each other.

After 18 rounds of play, Maccabi lead Maccabi Haifa by four points in the TASE Premier League standings. Beitar are in third place, still 10 points off the pace.

A dynamic game with the crowd chanting loudly and constantly throughout made for an electric atmosphere. Maccabi held the lion’s share of possession in the first half and attacked the Beitar goal incessantly, but they had little to show for their efforts and due to some poor finishing. 

Beitar stormed into the second half determined to sting Maccabi on the counter, and set up a decent situation within the first minute, but the Maccabi defence, which had been alert in the first half, saw off the danger.

Within two minutes, Maccabi had the first real chance of the game when a beautiful curling left foot shot by Omer Atzili in front of goal from the edge of the area was well saved by Itamar Nitzan in the Beitar goal. Beitar’s Anthony Varen headed straight into the hands of Tenenbaum in the 55th minute and Beitar’s Levi Garcia shot over the bar in the 68th minute.

Maccabi striker Chico Ofoedu, who scored twice in the 4-0 away win in the first phase win over Beitar at Teddy Stadium came on as substitute in place of the ineffective Itay Shechter and finally put the ball in the net in the 71st minute just as Dor Micha came on for Avi Rikan, but Ofoedu was in an offside position when he received the ball and the goal was ruled out.

Ofoedu was almost sent clear on his way to goal with Beitar’s defence beaten late on and he would have scored had it not been for an alert Nitzan in the Beitar goal, who came well out of his area to head the ball away from danger.