Yellow-and-blue cuts gap at the top to three points

“The most important thing is that we took the three points,” said Maccabi coach Lito Vidigal. “It’s very important for us to think only about the next game.”

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March 6, 2017 01:08
1 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv striker Barak Itzhaki scored the only goal of last night’s 1-0 win at Maccabi Petah

Maccabi Tel Aviv striker Barak Itzhaki scored the only goal of last night’s 1-0 win at Maccabi Petah Tikva in Premier League action.. (photo credit: AVI AVICHAI)

 
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Maccabi Tel Aviv closed back within striking distance of Hapoel Beersheba and first place in the Premier League standings on Sunday night, beating Hapoel Ashkelon 2-1 for its fifth straight league win.

Maccabi cut the gap at the top to three points despite a far from impressive display, winning for the 12th time in 13 matches over all competitions since coach Shota Arveladze was sacked at the beginning of January.

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Tal Ben-Haim netted the opener from the rebound of his penalty which was saved in the 17th minute, with Barak Itzhaki doubling the advantage five minutes after the halftime break. Ashkelon controlled the possession for much of the second half, and was rewarded with Josip Ivancic’s goal in the 90th minute. But it proved to be too little and too late for the hosts, who remain in the relegation zone.

“The most important thing is that we took the three points,” said Maccabi coach Lito Vidigal. “It’s very important for us to think only about the next game.”

Earlier Sunday, Maccabi Petah Tikva kept pace with the top two, beating Hapoel Kfar Saba 3-1 on the road for its fifth win from the past six matches. After seven games without a goal, Kfar Saba got off to a dream start, taking the lead through Ran Yitzhak’s penalty in the second minute. Petah Tikva responded with three goals over an eight minute stretch to effectively secure the three points. Guy Melamed (22, 25) and Giddy Kanyuk (28) scored for Petah Tikva, which has lost just one of its past 14 league matches.

Petah Tikva remained five points back of Maccabi Tel Aviv in second place, moving eight points clear of Beitar Jerusalem in fourth. Kfar Saba is still one point above the relegation zone despite seeing its winless streak reach 16 matches, a run going back four months.

On Monday, Beitar Jerusalem hosts Maccabi Haifa.

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