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.
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
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
Also in the relegation playoffs, Betar Jerusalem will look
to claim an eighth consecutive win when it hosts Hapoel Petah
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.
both Maccabi Netanya and Bnei Yehuda by just two points, with Netanya hosting
Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Bnei Yehuda visiting Bnei Sakhnin.
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.