MACCABI PETAH TIKVA striker Victor Merey 370.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
The battle against relegation from the Premier League was blown wide open on
Saturday after Maccabi Petah Tikva moved to within three points of safety
following its 2-1 win over Hapoel Rishon Lezion and Hapoel Beersheba’s 3-1
defeat to Hapoel Acre.
Hapoel Haifa is also still not safe, holding just
a four-point cushion on the relegation zone after only managing a 1-1 draw
against Hapoel Ramat Hasharon on Saturday.
Maccabi Petah Tikva looked all
but doomed two weeks ago when the Israel Football Association’s High Court
reversed its previous decision and deducted the club three points for its
involvement in March’s brawl at the Moshava Stadium.
However, its second
straight win on Saturday, combined with other results going its way, has revived
the side’s hopes of survival ahead of the final two matches of the
After a poor first half, Victor Merey gave Petah Tikva the lead
in the 61st minute before Danny Preda clinched the win 11 minutes later with an
accurate free kick, rendering David Gomez’s strike (81) meaningless.
said before the match that as long as we have a chance we must continue to
fight,” said Petah Tikva coach Moshe Sinai.
“I tried to instill that
belief in the players and after a bad first half we were much better in the
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“I believed we could survive before the match so I sure believe
we can get the job done now.”
Petah Tikva visits Hapoel Acre on Tuesday
before hosting Ramat Hasharon in its final league match on
Beersheba could find itself back in the relegation zone on
Tuesday after losing at home to Acre.
Nicolas Falczuk (23) and Nebojsa
Marinkovic (42) ensured Acre was cruising at the break and Sintiyahu Salalik
(85) extinguished Beersheba’s hopes after Siraj Naser got a goal back for the
hosts in the 58th minute.
Beersheba goes to Ramat Hasharon on Tuesday
before hosting Betar Jerusalem to cap its campaign on Saturday, needing four
points to secure its Premier League status regardless of other
Hapoel Haifa needs three points from its final two matches to
secure its survival after it was held to a 1-1 draw by Ramat Hasharon at Kiryat
Eliezer Stadium, with Ran Abukarat giving the hosts the lead in the 29th minute
before Efraim Aspa equalized in the 57th.
Haifa visits Betar Jerusalem on
Tuesday before hosting Hapoel Petah Tikva.
Betar extended its league-best
winning streak to eight matches on Saturday, beating Hapoel Petah Tikva
Tzahi Elihen (14) and Liron Diamant (90) scored for
Hapoel Tel Aviv and Beni Yehuda remained in the driving seat for
European qualification, strengthening their positions in second and third place,
respectively, with wins on Saturday.
A Maharan Lala brace (35, 90) gave
Hapoel a 2-0 road-win over Ashdod SC, while Bnei Yehuda beat Bnei Sakhnin 3-0 at
Doha Stadium courtesy of goals from Dean Mori (21), Dino Ndlovo (29) and Pedro
Sakhnin’s Oded Elkayam was sent off for the foul that led to
the free kick netted by Galvan.
Maccabi Netanya dropped important points
in the fight for the two Europa League berths on Saturday, losing 3-1 to
champion Ironi Kiryat Shmona.
Hen Ezra gave the hosts the lead in the
33rd minute, but Kiryat Shmona replied with three second half goals through Ben
Vahava (55), David Solari (73) and Shlomi Azulai (88). Maccabi Haifa hosts
Maccabi Tel Aviv on Sunday.
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