Beitar Jerusalem forward Idan Vered (front) celebrates with teammates after scoring a dramatic winner to give his team a 2-1 victory over Maccabi Petah Tikva last night at Teddy Stadium.
(photo credit: DANNY MAROM)
A dramatic Idan Vered winner with the last kick of the match gave Beitar Jerusalem a 2-1 win over Maccabi Petah Tikva at Teddy Stadium on Wednesday night, taking the team up to third place in the Premier League standings at the expense of its opponent.
The significant showdown in the battle for third place, which guarantees a place in the Europa League qualifiers next season, looked set to end in a draw after neither team managed to score following a thrilling start to the match.
Jesus Rueda’s free kick gave Beitar the lead after five minutes, but Guy Melamed leveled the score a mere five minutes later.
In stoppage time, Petah Tikva’s defense couldn’t clear a free kick and Vered slotted the ball in from close range in the final seconds of the fourth minute of added time.
Beitar leapfrogged Petah Tikva with the win, moving up to 50 points, two ahead of Petah Tikva in fourth. Bnei Sakhnin is fifth with 45 points, one in front of Maccabi Haifa, with each team having four more matches to play.
Fourth place will also be good enough for continental qualification should Maccabi Tel Aviv defeat Bnei Yehuda in the State Cup final next month.
Petah Tikva entered the championship playoffs with an eight-point cushion over Beitar, but has since lost six straight games and seven matches in a row overall.
Premier League action continues on Thursday, with Bnei Yehuda in desperate need of a win when it hosts Ironi Kiryat Shmona.
Following the 1-0 loss to Hapoel Ashkelon on Saturday and Hapoel Tel Aviv’s 2-0 victory over Hapoel Kfar Saba on Monday, Bnei Yehuda finds itself only four points above the relegation zone with three matches to play.