Hapoel Tel Aviv 311.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Tel Aviv’s hopes of claiming a second straight Premier League title
suffered a significant blow on Saturday night after Liroy Zhairi’s winner five
minutes into stoppage time gave Bnei Yehuda a 1-0 victory over the Reds at
Hapoel continued its subpar performances of recent
weeks and Bnei Yehuda fully deserved to take all three points against the
reigning-champion, which has now won just two of its past five
Tel Aviv’s fifth defeat of the season leaves it four points back
of first-placed Maccabi Haifa, but the Greens can move seven points clear with
one match to go before the start of the championship playoffs when they host
Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Monday.
“We dropped important points tonight,”
said Hapoel coach Eli Gutman, whose team can no longer overtake Haifa ahead of
the start of the playoffs, meaning it will visit Elisha Levy’s side in their
final meeting of the season on April 30.
“This is a painful and
significant home defeat. We didn’t play our soccer tonight. Bnei Yehuda was
organized and ready. We didn’t move the ball and didn’t create any
Bnei Yehuda’s sixth victory in the past eight games puts it on
the verge of clinching a top-six finish and qualifying for the championship
playoffs, with Dror Kashtan’s team controlling Saturday’s match long before
Hapoel defender Bevan Fransman was sent off in the 82nd minute.
dominated the game and Hapoel didn’t reach any chance,” Kashtan
Betar Jerusalem claimed its third straight victory at Teddy Stadium
on Saturday, beating Hapoel Acre 2-0.
Kobi Moyal crossed the ball for
Idan Tal to head in the opener in the seventh minute and secured the victory for
the hosts with his first league goal of the season in the 73rd
“It was very important for us to win tonight,” said Betar coach
Roni Levy, whose team climbed to 10th place on Saturday, a position which leads
to the mid-table playoffs. “It is crucial for us to be in the mid-table playoffs
and we have one more match to win to complete the job.”
visits Kiryat Shmona next week, leapfrogged Hapoel Beersheba on Saturday after
the southerners lost 2-1 to Maccabi Netanya in front of an empty Vasermil
No fans were allowed to attend the match following the firing of
dozens of projectiles to the south over the weekend, with the 0-0 draw between
Ashdod SC and Hapoel Haifa also being played in front of empty stands on
Saturday due to the security situation.
Ahmed Saba’s brace (11, 63) gave
Netanya a 2-0 lead, with Siraj Naser’s consolation goal (86) not preventing
Beersheba from falling to its sixth loss in its last eight games.
Tel Aviv left National Stadium in Ramat Gan with mixed emotions on
On the one hand, it ended its threematch losing streak with a
2-2 draw with Maccabi Petah Tikva, but on the other, it missed two penalties,
squandering a golden opportunity to take all three points.
yellow-and-blue took the lead from the penalty spot in the 16th minute through
Eliran Atar, but five minutes later Ori Uzan equalized from the spot after
goalkeeper Liran Strauber inexplicably brought down Tal Ben- Haim.
could have put Tel Aviv back in the lead just before halftime, but he could only
send his penalty against the post after Maor Buzaglo was fouled in the box for
the second time in the match.
Eleven minutes into the second half, Omer
Damari poured salt on Tel Aviv’s wounds, slotting the ball past Strauber to give
Petah Tikva the lead.
However, it took Tel Aviv just seven minutes to tie
the score, with Buzaglo putting Atar through and the young striker scoring his
15th league goal of the season.
Buzaglo could have completed the comeback
11 minutes from time after being pulled down by Kobi Gannon, who was
subsequently sent off, but the Tel Aviv midfielder’s penalty would only hit the
crossbar and the points would be shared.
Also Saturday, Bnei Sakhnin took
an important step towards survival, beating Hapoel Ashkelon 2-0 in Shlomi Dora’s
first match since becoming the team’s fourth coach of the season.
Yeye (4) and Hamad Ganayem (40) scored for the hosts, who leapfrogged Ashkelon
by handing Eli Mahpud’s side its ninth defeat in 10 matches.
Hapoel Petah Tikva hosts Hapoel Ramat Gan in another important battle against