Maccabi Tel Aviv continued its relentless charge to the Premier League title on
Wednesday night, beating reigning champion Ironi Kiryat Shmona 3-1 to
reestablish a 10-point gap at the top of the standings.
Maccabi had its
eight match winning streak snapped with a 0-0 draw against secondplaced Maccabi
Haifa on Saturday, but it took all three points once more in Kiryat Shmona with
a professional performance.
The yellow-and-blue hosts Hapoel Tel Aviv in
the derby on Saturday, knowing a victory over its arch-rival will leave it
needing just three wins from its final six matches to clinch a first
championship since 2003, even should Haifa triumph in its remaining seven
Tel Aviv wasn’t at its rampant best on Wednesday, but its win
never looked in doubt after Munas Dabbur gave it the lead in the 44th minute
with a cool finish following Moshe Lugassi’s superb through ball.
Prica doubled the advantage with a calm chip three minutes into the second half
and Maccabi clinched the victory through an Eran Zahavi penalty four minutes
from time after Shimon Abu Hazeira gave Kiryat Shmona a lifeline with a spot
kick in the 64th minute.
”We played away against a very good team and it
wasn’t easy to win here,” said Maccabi coach Oscar Garcia.
before what we had to do to win this game. The derby is always an important game
for all the fans and now in the playoffs all the games are important and this
one much more because it is a derby.”
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