Hapoel Haifa coach Tal Banin.
(photo credit: ERAN LUF)
Three days after falling to last place in the Premier League standings following a six-point deduction by FIFA, Ashdod SC’s troubles on the field continued on Saturday when it was held to a 0-0 draw by Hapoel Acre.
A long-standing dispute with Nigerian club Kaduna United over the transfer fee of defender Efe Ambrose, purchased back in June 2010, resulted in the harsh punishment, with Ashdod failing to comply with a FIFA Disciplinary Committee ruling from last October.
Ashdod claimed it was all a result of a misunderstanding and believes the punishment will be canceled. However, for the time being its top-flight status is in serious jeopardy, with Saturday’s goalless deadlock extending its winless streak to 10 matches.
Acre, which is one point ahead of Ashdod, remained in the relegation zone but moved tied on 23 points with Hapoel Petah Tikva after the latter lost 3-2 to Bnei Sakhnin.
Gal Erel gave Petah Tikva the lead after 53 minutes, but a Diogo Kachuba brace (62, 67) followed by a Firas Mugrabi (82) goal turned the match on its head and Shahar Hirsch’s stoppage- time strike was of little consolation for the hosts.
Hapoel Haifa is also in real danger, sitting three points above the relegation zone following a 1-0 defaet to Hapoel Tel Aviv at Sammy Ofer Stadium.
Ariel Lazmi scored the only goal of the match six minutes from time.
Also Saturday, Maccabi Netanya officially secured itself another season in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over Hapoel Ra’anana thanks to Olarenwaju Kayode’s 93rd-minute winner.
Omer Peretz’s (17) opener for Netanya had been canceled out by Mamadou Thiam (54).
On Sunday, Beitar Jerusalem hosts Maccabi Petah Tikva, while Hapoel Beersheba welcomes Maccabi Haifa.
Maccabi Tel Aviv, which holds an eightpoint gap at the top of the standings, visits Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Monday.