Mac PT faces Hap Rishon needing win to stave off relegation

“The league isn’t over yet. There are still nine points to play for and we aren’t safe yet,” Beersheba owner Alona Barkat says.

May 4, 2012 06:39
2 minute read.
Omer Golan and Maccabi Petah Tikva

Omer Golan and Maccabi Petah Tikva. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)

After 21 straight seasons in the top flight, Maccabi Petah Tikva could find itself relegated to the National League on Saturday.

A Petah Tikva victory over Hapoel Rishon Lezion at the Moshava Stadium will keep alive Maccabi’s lingering hopes for at least a few more days, but a failure to win could see the team demoted already on Saturday depending on the outcome of the matches between Hapoel Beersheba and Hapoel Acre and between Hapoel Haifa and Hapoel Ramat Hasharon.

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Petah Tikva trails Beersheba by six points with three matches to play in the season, with both teams owning an identical goal differential of minus 20.

Hapoel Haifa is also still not safe, being tied on 39 points with Beersheba, but it knows that a win over Ramat Hasharon at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium should promise it another season in the Premier League regardless of other results due to its vastly superior goal difference (-3).

A Beersheba home win on Saturday will mean it will require only a single point from its final two games to maintain its top flight status, even should Petah Tikva triumph.

It will be confident of overcoming Acre for its third straight win and could secure its survival already on Saturday even if it draws, should Petah Tikva lose.

“The league isn’t over yet. There are still nine points to play for and we aren’t safe yet,” Beersheba owner Alona Barkat told her players on Thursday.

“We need to maintain our form from recent weeks and I hope that we will already be able to breathe a sigh of relief on Saturday.”

Also in the relegation playoffs, Betar Jerusalem will look to claim an eighth consecutive win when it hosts Hapoel Petah Tikva.

After progressing to the State Cup final on Wednesday with a 3-0 extra-time win over Ramat Hasharon, Hapoel Tel Aviv will look to consolidate second position with a victory at Ashdod SC on Saturday.

Hapoel leads both Maccabi Netanya and Bnei Yehuda by just two points, with Netanya hosting Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Bnei Yehuda visiting Bnei Sakhnin.

Maccabi Haifa, which will play Hapoel in the cup final for a second straight year, welcomes Maccabi Tel Aviv to Kiryat Eliezer Stadium on Sunday, with both teams also still in the frame for European qualification.

The teams to finish the season in second and third places will book a Europa League berth for next season, while fourth will also be sufficient should Hapoel Tel Aviv or Maccabi Haifa win the State Cup and end the league among the top three.

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