Mac Haifa nets winner; Beitar falls to Ramat Gan

A 94th-minute winner by Pylyavskyi ensured Maccabi Haifa maintained its hopes to claim the Premier League championship.

March 18, 2013 00:39
1 minute read.
MACCABI HAIFA forward Yaniv Katan

MACCABI HAIFA forward Yaniv Katan 370 . (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)

A 94th-minute winner by Andriy Pylyavskyi ensured Maccabi Haifa maintained its lingering hopes to claim the Premier League championship on Sunday night, while relegation to the National League became a real concern for Beitar Jerusalem following a 2-1 loss to Hapoel Ramat Gan.

Haifa defeated Bnei Yehuda 1-0 at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium for its 13th win in the past 16 games to close within 10 points of league-leader Maccabi Tel Aviv ahead of the showdown between the two teams at Bloomfield Stadium in their next match in two weeks time.

Haifa outplayed Bnei Yehuda for large parts of Sunday’s encounter, but Adam Hrepka should have given the visitors the lead in the 84th minute, firing straight at Bojan Saranov with only the ‘keeper to beat and plenty of time to place his shot.

Bnei Yehuda would live to rue the squandered opportunity, with the otherwise excellent Dele Aiyenugba failing to collect a Yaniv Katan cross in the fourth minute of stoppage time, parrying the ball straight to the feet of Pylyavskyi, who made no mistake in front of an empty net.

Only six points now separate Beitar Jerusalem in eighth place and Hapoel Acre in 14th and last position after Hapoel Ramat Gan climbed off the bottom of the table with a win at Teddy on Sunday.

It wasn’t that long ago that Beitar fans were dreaming of European qualification, but the yellow-and-black have failed to win in eight straight league games and will have to battle for their top-flight status for the remainder of the season.

Beitar’s Avi Rikan (25) canceled out Michael Zandberg’s opener (13), but Israel Zaguri slotted in the winner in the 60th minute and dragged Jerusalem down into the relegation scuffle.

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