Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Maccabi Tel Aviv failed to muster a goal in a cold and wet Premier League showdown on Monday night.

The 0-0 stalemate means Maccabi increased its lead at the top of the standings over Hapoel Tel Aviv to just two points, while Kiryat Shmona climbed up to fourth place, eight points from the yellow-and-blue.

Besides Hapoel Tel Aviv, the other main beneficiary from Monday’s draw was Maccabi Haifa, which is now only eight points behind first position after beating Ashdod SC 4-1 on Sunday for its sixth victory in seven games.

Scoring opportunities were at a premium on the waterlogged pitch in Kiryat Shmona, but both sides, especially Maccabi, had their chances to break the deadlock.

Maccabi’s Carlos Garcia had his header denied only by the crossbar in the 22nd minute, while Kiryat Shmona ‘keeper Danny Amos had to be at his best to save Gal Alberman’s effort nine minutes from the break.

Tel Aviv’s Eliran Atar also shaved the woodwork with his attempt eight minutes after halftime, and despite controlling the possession in the second half, the hosts rarely threatened Maccabi’s young goalkeeper Barak Levy.

Despite continuing to lead the standings, Maccabi is determined to strengthen its squad in the January transfer window.

After already signing Israeli-born Canadian goalkeeper Tomer Chencinski to provide cover for Vincent Enyeama, who has flown out to play for Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations, Maccabi is set to complete a deal to land striker Rade Prica on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old Swede, who has arrived to replace Robert Earnshaw, joins from Norway’s Rosenborg, where he scored 57 goals in 104 appearances. Rade has been capped 14 times for the Swedish national side, scoring two goals.

Maccabi would like to add at least one more player in January, with Israel international and Palermo midfielder Eran Zahavi close to putting pen to paper to join the yellow-and-blue.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger