Bnei Yehuda rose from the relegation zone on Sunday night by claiming two wins in a row for the first time this season, beating Beitar Jerusalem 1-0 at Bloomfield Stadium.
Ohad Kadusi scored the winner for Bnei Yehuda in the 56th minute, taking Yossi Abuksis’s team two points above Hapoel Ramat Hasharon and Maccabi Petah Tikva.
Kadusi’s fifth goal of the season secured Bnei Yehuda just its sixth victory of the campaign and its second in as many weeks after beating Hapoel Haifa 1-0 last week.
With five more matches to play and the bottom two teams to be relegated, Bnei Yehuda is still far from safe. However, with just a single defeat in its last 11 games, the club from south Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood is well placed to maintain its Premier League status after occupying the foot of the standings for much of the season.
“There is additional pressure when you play a day after your opponents,” said a relieved Abuksis. “There are still five more matches to play and we need to aim to get the most out of them. If we continue to play like we did tonight we will be alright, but if we don’t we will find ourselves in trouble again.
“We are still only two points above the relegation zone so there’s no danger that the players will get carried away by these last two wins.”
On Monday, Maccabi Tel Aviv can move 10-points clear of Hapoel Beersheba at the summit of the standings with a victory at Ironi Kiryat Shmona.
Beersheba could only manage a 1-1 draw against Hapoel Tel Aviv on Saturday after losing 2-0 to Maccabi last week.
Maccabi will be targeting its 17th victory from the past 20 games, with the defending champion losing only one match over that stretch. However, that defeat came at Kiryat Shmona, with the northerners convincingly beating the yellow-and-blue 3-1 three months ago.
Kiryat Shmona, which is unbeaten in nine matches, currently holds a six-point gap in third place and needs the points in order to secure Europa League qualification.
“Even if we win we will still not officially clinch the championship so we need to make sure we focus on one match at a time,” said Maccabi coach Paulo Sousa.
“Beersheba’s draw doesn’t take any of the pressure off us and we will have to make sure we continue to develop our footballing philosophy. This match will be different to the last time we met because Kiryat Shmona is an even better team.”
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