hapoel tel aviv 88.
(photo credit: )
Hapoel Tel Aviv recorded its first victory in eight years at Maccabi Haifa's Kiryat Eliezer home on Saturday thanks to a Walid Badir winner in the dying minutes of the contest.
The gap in between Premier League leading Haifa and Hapoel Tel Aviv is now only 11 points and another Haifa loss can open up the championship race with nine games left to the end of the domestic season.
At the other end of the table, Motti Iwanir's Upper Nazareth is in deep trouble after another home loss, this time to Reuven Atar's Maccabi Netanya. Also Saturday, Ton Caanen's Maccabi Tel Aviv needed an extra-time miracle against Hapoel Petah Tikva.
The crucial bottom-of-the-table game between Eli Ohana's Hapoel Kfar Saba and Ashdod SC ended in a draw. The game heated up when Yossi Mizrahi's team scored while a Kfar Saba player was injured and needed medical treatment.
Matchday 24 will be completed on Monday when Luis Fernandez's Betar Jerusalem travels to Doha Stadium to take on Abas Suan and Bnei Sakhnin.
Gal Alberman is suffering from a back injury and is doubtful for the yellow-and-black.
In Haifa, Idan Tal was at his very best from the start as he dominated the midfield in attack and controlled the tempo of the game. But the game developed into a tactical battle with both sides concentrating on their defensive duties.
The game was decided in extra time, when Hapoel was awarded a free kick 30 meters from goal after Adoram Keisi brutally fouled Elyaniv Barda.
Yossi Abuksis stepped up and launched a deft cross that was intercepted by Badir, who sent in a strong header that rendered 'keeper Nir Davidovitch helpless and handed Haifa its first home loss of the season.
Hapoel Petah Tikva 1, Maccabi Tel Aviv 1
Nir Levin's men entered the game as clear favorites as Avi Nimni, Eyal Berkovic, Liran Strauber and Christian Gonzalez were not in the Maccabi squad.
In the 35th minute, Petah Tikva launched a quick counter