Bnei Yehuda next in line for relentless Mac TA

TA will aim to edge ever closer to clinching Premier League title when it visits Bnei Yehuda at Bloomfield Saturday.

April 11, 2013 21:37
1 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv win

Maccabi Tel Aviv win over Bnei Yehuda. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)

Maccabi Tel Aviv will aim to edge ever closer to clinching the Premier League title when it visits Bnei Yehuda at Bloomfield Stadium on Saturday night, with memories from their most recent meeting two months ago still fresh in everyone’s mind.

In one of the more remarkable Premier League matches in recent years, Maccabi’s Moshe Lugassi scored with a stunning strike with the last kick of the match in the ninth minute of stoppage time to give the yellow-and-blue a 3-2 victory after falling 2-1 behind following Oz Raly’s 90th-minute goal.

Rade Prica netted a dramatic equalizer in the 93rd minute and Lugassi’s unstoppable effort from 20 meters out has sparked a relentless run by Maccabi, which sees it hold a 10-point gap at the top of the standings with six more matches to play.

Maccabi has picked up 19 of a possible 21 points since that win over Bnei Yehuda, doing so by a combined goal difference of 15-1.

Since its defeat to Ashdod SC on January 19, Maccabi has won 10 of 11 matches, outscoring its opponents by a combined 27-3.

Three victories from its final six games will secure Maccabi its first championship since 2003 regardless of other results, but coach Oscar Garcia remains as wary as ever.

“As I say every week, we think only of the next game,” the Spaniard said on Thursday. “The players have a lot of confidence from all the season and I hope it will continue until the end.”

Earlier Saturday, second-placed Maccabi Haifa, which has won 17 of its past 20 matches, visits Bloomfield for a tricky encounter against Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Hapoel looks set to end the season in third place despite losing 2-0 to Maccabi in the derby last weekend.

Also in the championship playoffs, Ironi Kiryat Shmona hosts Hapoel Ramat Hasharon.

With just four matches remaining for each side in the relegation playoffs, the battle against demotion looks set to be fought out between four teams, who will face each other on Saturday.

Rock-bottom Maccabi Netanya (28 points) visits Hapoel Ramat Gan (29), while Hapoel Acre (31) hosts Bnei Sakhnin (31).

Also Saturday, Beitar Jerusalem welcomes Hapoel Beersheba and Ashdod faces Hapoel Haifa.

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