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