Summary of Hapoel Be'er Sheva's 1:2 victory over Kiryat Shemona (Sport 1)
So far from the mental disintegration that Maccabi Tel Aviv shows week after week, Hapoel Beer Sheva with unusual intensity.
The mental strength of Eliniv Barda and his players gave them a super important victory last night (Sunday) ahead of the opening of the top playoffs in the upcoming cycle.
After Shkarit Shmona equalized from an own goal by Helder Lopes, after the players of Slovodan Drapich began to believe in a turnaround and a victory, and after the crowd at Turner had already lost patience and accompanied with boos every unsuccessful action of Hapoel Beer Sheva, Breda's players knew how to squeeze another penalty, the third in the game. And win the all-important matchup just before Maccabi Haifa's game tonight and just before the start of the playoffs.
"We really have a lot of character in the team," they said last night in Hapoel Beer Sheva.
"It's not by chance. It's not luck. It's not random. When you have Vitor, Shechter, Hamed, Gordana, Tibi, Lopes. When you have a group of players who don't break and know what the goal is and what the mission is, there's someone to go to war with. It's a game that could easily have been It can end in a loss and there are big teams that would have lost in this game, but this season's Hapoel Beer Sheva is something out of the ordinary."
It was difficult, the victory is sweeter than ever.
Lopes celebrates (Photo: Danny Maron)
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Eliniv Barda: "This is a game we will remember. I wanted Kalimela to kick, Lopes wanted to give back to his friends"
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Beitar against Hapoel Tel Aviv in the upcoming round? The lower playoff schedule
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With a penalty in extra time: Hapoel Beer Sheva won 1:2 over Kiryat Shmona
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Beer Sheva celebrates (Photo: Danny Maron)
The personal story is undoubtedly Helder Lopes's.
He wasn't supposed to play last night.
Most of last week he was injured, but he asked that he be prepared in any way for the game also because the right back Shagib Yehezkel was yellowed and the replacement left back Aviv Solomon finished the season.
Lopes came up to play, scored an own goal towards the end of the game and felt that his whole world had fallen on him.
When the third penalty was decided in favor of Hapoel Beer Sheva, he insisted on kicking.
Eliniv Berda actually wanted Patrick Kalimela on the white spot, but Lopes, the second penalty taker last night after Tomer Hamed according to the instructions before the game, insisted that he kick and did it like a big one.
Lopes' opponents talk about a slightly dirty player.
About someone who exaggerates theatrics and sometimes provocations, but Lopes showed last night what a big heart he has and the three points last night are his first.
Eliniv Barda chose, as expected, not to keep the three players who were in danger of a fifth yellow and suspension from the game against Maccabi Haifa in the second round of the playoffs.
Breda sent Miguel Vitor and Shafi Suleimanov into the lineup with four yellows and in the second half he brought on Aden Shamir with a fourth yellow instead of Suleimanov, who was replaced for the second time at the break of the game, during which Breda testified last night how difficult it is for him.
"I would not have forgiven myself if I had kept Miguel and we would have lost points. I would not have forgiven myself if he had not played and as a result we would not have won tonight," the coach explained his decision.
"We are now going to ten finals and every point now is critical," Barda added.
"This is not the time to keep players, but we have to play at every moment with the most powerful tools at our disposal."
As for Suleimanov, Berda said: "I'm sure that Shafi will still speak in this playoff. He went through a long suspension, he went through a long illness and he's also only 23 years old.
Beer Sheva is proud (Photo: Danny Maron)
The team once again finished a game with injuries and to the long list, Roi Gordana, Or Dadia and Dor Micha joined last night.
The three will be tested in the coming days in order to prepare them for the start of the playoffs.
Shagib Yehezkel and Mariano Barreiro, who were absent last night due to suspensions, will return to play in the next round at the start of the playoffs against Hapoel Jerusalem.
Hapoel Beer Sheva looks at the table this morning and finds that it is 6 points away from Maccabi Tel Aviv.
It also looks up to Maccabi Haifa who lead by a point but with their lackluster game tonight, so they can finish the regular league four points clear of Hapoel Be'er Sheva.
Breda testified last night that he would not have bought this script on the eve of the season opener.
"I always strive for the maximum," he said.
"I wouldn't buy this table on the eve of the opening of the season, even though we are 6 points above Maccabi Tel Aviv."
Hapoel Beer Sheva
Urban Kiryat Shmona