Hapoel Beersheba’s Maor Melikson and Dovev Gabay.
(photo credit: ASAF KLIGER)
Hapoel Beersheba moved back up to second place in the Premier League standings on Sunday night, beating Maccabi Petah Tikva 2-1 on the road thanks to Dovev Gabay’s brace.
Beersheba officially secured its qualification for the Europa League next season after advancing to the State Cup final last week, where it will face league-leader Maccabi Tel Aviv in two weeks.
However, Elisha Levy’s team also wants to end its league campaign in the runner-up position for a second straight year and it moved back ahead of Ironi Kiryat Shmona on goal difference with Sunday’s victory.
After netting a hat-trick in the 7-0 win over Hapoel Afula in the cup semis last week, Gabay made it five goals in four days on Sunday, scoring in the 30th and 77th minutes, the second from the penalty spot. Petah Tikva equalized in the 31st minute through Guy Melamed despite playing with 10 men from the 26th minute following Daniel Dimov’s sending off.
On Monday, Maccabi Tel Aviv will look to reestablish a 10-point gap at the top when it visits Maccabi Haifa.
Elsewhere, Maccabi Netanya players went on strike on Sunday, boycotting the scheduled training session after not being paid their salaries for the past two months.
The departure of owner Eli Segev late last year left the club in a dire economic situation and the players haven’t been paid on a regular basis since.
“This is a sad day,” said Netanya coach Roni Levy. “I don’t remember anything like this ever happening in Israeli soccer.
I hope something changes over the next few days. I’m sure the players will show up for our next match, but it will have little sporting value if they do so after not training all week.”
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