Hapoel Ra’anana moved to the brink of securing itself another season of Premier League soccer on Saturday, while Hapoel Ramat Hasharon also took a significant step to avoiding demotion to the National League.
Ra’anana opened a seven-point gap from the relegation zone with three matches to play thanks to a 3-1 victory over Bnei Yehuda at Bloomfield Stadium.
Mamadou Toure gave Ra’anana the lead after less than three minutes, but Ness Zamir (42) ensured the teams entered the break tied at 1-1.
Bnei Yehuda had lost just once in its previous 12 encounters, bringing a five-match unbeaten streak into Saturday, but it dropped into the relegation zone after second-half goals from Raz Cohen (68) and Anthony Nwakaeme (76) gave Ra’anana its third win from its past five matches.
Bnei Yehuda is three points adrift of safety after Hapoel Ramat Hasharon thrashed rock-bottom Maccabi Petah Tikva 4-1 on Saturday. Petah Tikva took the lead through Roei Dayan’s 35th-minute strike, but a stunning hat-trick by substitute Yosef Abu Laben (70, 77, 90) gave Ramat Hasharon all three points, with Emir Hadzic netting a stoppage-time penalty for the hosts.
Petah Tikva will require a sporting miracle to avoid relegation after falling six points from safety with only nine points left to play for.
Hapoel Acre remained just three points above the relegation zone following a 1-0 loss at Ashdod SC. Alexander Davidov scored Ashdod’s winner in the 80th minute.
Maccabi Haifa closed to within a single point of Hapoel Tel Aviv in the battle for fourth place after snapping its four-match losing streak with a 2-1 win over Hapoel Beersheba on Saturday.
Shoval Gozlan (1) and Alon Turgeman (45) scored for Haifa, with Maor Buzaglo (9) equalizing for Beersheba.
Hapoel Tel Aviv drew 1-1 with thirdplace Ironi Kiryat Shmona, with Tel Aviv’s Ran Yitzhak (79) cancelling out Roei Kehat’s opener (55).
On Monday, Hapoel Haifa visits Beitar Jerusalem and Bnei Sakhnin welcomes champion-elect Maccabi Tel Aviv.
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