Maccabi Tel Aviv needed a late surge to kill off the resistance of Hapoel Kiryat Shmona in the 24th round of the TASE Premier League at Bloomfield on Sunday and re-assert their credentials as title favourites.
Kiryat Shmona, who are struggling to escape from danger at the bottom of the standings, held on for 75 minutes as Maccabi, who held the majority of possession throughout and had a goal disallowed for an infringement in the first half, before finally breaking down their opponents and hitting three goals.
Even after the teams emerged from the dressing rooms at halftime, there was little to suggest that any goals would be scored as mainly Maccabi, and occasionally Kiryat Shmona, failed to mount organised moves that might break down the opposition.
Yonatan Cohen finally put Maccabi ahead in the 75th minute from an excellent free kick from 18 metres out on the left of the area that was deflected of the head of Idan Nahmias defending in the wall. The ball rose fractionally too high for Kiryat Shmona keeper Gad Amos to reach as it cleared his fingertips and landed in the top of the net.
Maccabi added the second goal in the 83rd minute with an excellent move as Cohen passed the ball across the goalmouth and Omer Atzili to sauntered in to tap the ball into the net with Amos out of position.
In the 86th minute, Chico Ofoedu finished off an identical move to the previous goal when he met a cross from the left from Atzili that sped across the face of the goal for another easy tap-in.
The win will add some much-needed morale ahead of next week’s Tel Aviv home Derby against Hapoel at Bloomfield.