Hapoel Rishon Lezion’s Idan Maimon.
(photo credit: YOED COHEN/ISRAEL HANDBALL ASSOCIATION)
Israel’s all-time greatest handball player, Idan Maimon (center), came tantalizingly close to ending his career with another league championship last night, only to see the playoff finals between his Hapoel Rishon Lezion and Maccabi Rishon Lezion go the distance.
Hapoel, which brought a 2-1 advantage into Monday’s game, led by three goals in the second half, but Maccabi bounced back to end Game 4 of the best-of-five series in a 23-23 draw, meaning the title will be decided at Maccabi’s home-court in Game 5 on Friday.
Hapoel continues to lead the series 2-1 and a draw or better will see the club claim its 17th championship, Maimon’s 13th, and complete its 11th league and State Cup double. However, even a one-goal win will be good enough for Maccabi as it owns the goal difference tiebreaker, which will determine the winner should the series end at 2-2.