Betar Jerusalem 298.88.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Bnei Yehuda recorded its sixth straight victory on Saturday, climbing out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 win at Betar Jerusalem.
Moshe Biton scored the only goal of the match in the 39th minute in front of empty stands at Teddy Stadium, handing the reigning champion its third straight defeat.
Hezi Shirazi and Ya'akov Asayag's team is now two points ahead of Maccabi Herzliya, which drew 2-2 with Ironi Kiryat Shmona, and Ashdod SC, which lost 1-0 to Maccabi Netanya from a Francis Kioyo goal.
"I think this victory is crucial," Shirazi said after the match. "I felt that a win at Teddy would give us a 90 percent chance of staying in the league. We made a significant step. If we win one more match we'll survive."
Saturday's loss leaves Betar needing three points from its remaining four matches to secure its second straight league championship. Jerusalem can also wrap up the title with a draw next week at home against second-placed Netanya.
Betar coach Yitzhak Schum will, however, not be thinking of the game against Netanya just yet and will be far more concerned with Tuesday's State Cup final against Hapoel Tel Aviv. Schum's team was apathetic and lackluster for a third straight match on Saturday and will have to show a dramatic improvement in its form at National Stadium in Ramat Gan if it's to claim an historic league and cup double.
Hapoel Tel Aviv won 1-0 at Bnei Sakhnin on Saturday, moving seven points clear of the relegation zone and all but securing itself another season of Premier League soccer.
Fabio Junior scored the winner in the 39th minute and made sure Hapoel will enter Tuesday's final in a relaxed mood.
Also Saturday, Maccabi Petah Tikva defeated Hapoel Kfar Saba 1-0, claiming its first win in 12 matches. Petah Tikva ended a nine game scoreless run in the 18th minute when Rubil Sarsur poked in Tal Ben-Haim's free kick.
On Sunday, Maccabi Tel Aviv can also boost its survival hopes with a victory against Maccabi Haifa at Kiryat Eliazur Stadium.
The only match on Saturday in which more than one goal was scored was played in Kiryat Shmona. The hosts were comfortably 2-0 ahead against Herzliya thanks to Yossi Biton's and Peter Ofori-Quaye's goals, but an Amir Nosbaom own goal and an Avi Raykan stoppage time equalizer gave Maccabi an important point in its battle against relegation.