Stalemate at the summit after leaders draw

Beersheba still one point in front of Mac TA after sides settle for 1-1 tie at Turner

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March 21, 2016 04:55
2 minute read.
Hapoel Beersheba midfielder Ovidiu Hoban (center) scores past Maccabi Tel Aviv goalkeeper Predrag Ra

Hapoel Beersheba midfielder Ovidiu Hoban (center) scores past Maccabi Tel Aviv goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic to cancel out Carlos Garcia’s (left) opener for the yellow-and-blue in last night’s 1-1 draw at Turner Stadium.. (photo credit: DANNY MARON)

 
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Hapoel Beersheba remains one point ahead of Maccabi Tel Aviv at the top of the Premier League standings after the two fought out a 1-1 draw at Turner Stadium on Sunday night.

Carlos Garcia gave Maccabi the lead after 11 minutes, but Ovidiu Hoban equalized 13 minutes later and both sides seemed content to settle for a single point in the second half, maintaining the status quo at the summit.

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After seeing its gap slashed to a single point over recent weeks, Beersheba was happy to hold on to first place, even though it registered its third consecutive draw at home.

Beersheba extended its unbeaten streak to 23 matches, while Maccabi saw its five-match winning run snapped. Nevertheless, both coaches were pleased at the final whistle.

“In the first half both teams had a lot of chances, but in the second half Maccabi was in control and neither team had many chances,” said Beersheba coach Barak Bachar. “We didn’t play well in the second half, but the title race is still in our hands. Both teams tried to win and the final score is fair.”

Maccabi is aiming to become just the second team in local soccer history to win four straight championships, and the first since Hapoel Petah Tikva took five consecutive league titles between 1959 and 1963.

“I think we played a good second half, but we didn’t have enough chances,” said Maccabi coach Peter Bosz. “We would have been happy with a draw before the match, but if you see the game you see there was more in it for us.”

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Also Sunday, Hapoel Ra’anana climbed to fourth place, beating Maccabi Haifa 3-0. Ra’anana leapfrogged both Haifa and Bnei Sakhnin in the battle for what could be a place in the Europa League next season, moving to 40 points, one ahead of Sakhnin and two in front of Haifa. Rene Mihelic (32), Yuval Shabtay (60) and Barak Badash (89) scored for Ra’anana, with Haifa ending the match with 10 men following Ofir Kriaf’s sending off in the 65th minute.

Fourth place will be good enough to secure continental soccer next season should either Maccabi Tel Aviv or Hapoel Beersheba win the State Cup as well as finish in the top two in the league standings.

Meanwhile, Hapoel Acre gave itself some breathing room in the battle against relegation, thrashing the sorry Maccabi Netanya 4-1 to move seven points clear of the bottom two.

Dylan Seys’s brace (11, 27) put Acre in the driving seat, but Sa’ar Benbenishti gave Netanya a lifeline five minutes from the break. The visitors should have been level in the 63rd minute, but Issoumaila Lingane somehow missed from three meters out with the net at his mercy, hitting the crossbar with his shot in what will surely be remembered as one of the misses of the season.

Oz Peretz (83) and Samuel Gilmore (88) secured the three points, with Acre winning for the fourth time in six

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