Israel’s Ligat Ha’Al returned to action over the weekend with a 1-0 defeat for champions Hapoel Tel Aviv away to Hapoel Haifa.
Croatian midfielder Sasha Stojano scored the only goal of the game just after the interval as the champions rested half their first team ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League play-off against Red Bull Salzburg.
Elsewhere runners-up Maccabi Haifa beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-0 at Bloomfield Stadium with Mohammed Ghadir scoring the first-half winner. A further blow for Maccabi Tel Aviv was an injury sustained by new signing Barak Yitzhaki who will be out for six months with torn ligaments
John Gregory’s Ashdod got off to a winning start with a 2-1 away victory at Hapoel Akko, while Betar Jerusalem were hammered 4-1 at Maccabi Netanya.
Newly promoted Hapoel Ashkelon beat Hapoel Petach Tikvah 3-1 and Hapoel Kiryat Shmona, the other promoted team, beat Bnei Sakhnin 2-0.