The Maccabis square off.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Only an unprecedented collapse will deny Maccabi Tel Aviv a first Premier League
title since 2003 after the yellow and- blue maintained its 10-point gap at the
top of the standings on Saturday night with a 0-0 draw against second placed
Maccabi Haifa at Bloomfield Stadium.
Tel Aviv failed to extend its
eight match winning streak, but it won’t mind one bit after keeping Haifa at bay
and all but extinguishing any lingering hope the Greens may have had of closing
the gap in the final eight games of the season.
Despite an open start to
the match, both teams combined to create very few chances throughout the 90
minutes, with the well-coached sides canceling each other out.
a good team and we did the best we could,” said Tel Aviv coach Oscar Garcia. “We
haven’t won the title yet. There is still work to be done.”
Arik Benado also insisted that the Greens are still fighting for the
“We had our chances, but we weren’t sharp enough,” he said.
“We were the better team and we could have put Tel Aviv under pressure with a
“However, under no circumstance will we give up until the final
whistle of the season. There are still plenty of matches
Elsewhere Saturday, Hapoel Acre climbed out of the relegation
zone, sending Maccabi Netanya to last place with a 2-0 victory.
going 16 matches without a win, Acre has been a transformed team since coach
Yuval Naim took charge and claimed its fourth victory in its past six encounters
on Saturday thanks to a Nebojsa Marinkovic brace (63, 93).
Netanya showed little improvement in Reuven Atar’s first match back with the
team as coach, dropping to its third straight loss, extending its winless skid
to seven matches.
As if it didn’t have enough problems, Netanya was also
playing without one of its foreign players after he had his remand extended by
the District Court on Friday following his arrest in connection with the murder
of Zahava Chukol, who was found dead outside the Carmel Hotel in the
“The match could have swung in any direction,” said Atar. “We
essentially dropped six points but we will not give up.”
snapped its five game losing streak with a 1-1 draw at Hapoel Ramat Gan, keeping
both teams just above the relegation zone.
Ran Itzhak gave Ramat Gan the
lead in the 61st minute, with Dovev Gabai netting the equalizer for the visitors
seven minutes later.
Hapoel Tel Aviv put some distance between itself and
Ironi Kiryat Shmona in the battle for third place and European qualification on
Saturday, beating Hapoel Ramat Hasharon 1-0 while the reigning champion was held
to a 1-1 draw at Bnei Yehuda.
Toto Tamuz scored Tel Aviv’s winner in the
54th minute, giving the Reds consecutive victories for the first time since
Kiryat Shmona took a deserved 77thminute lead through Shir
Tzedek, but Nenad Marinkovic leveled the score for Bnei Yehuda one minute from
On Monday, Beitar Jerusalem visits Ashdod SC and Bnei Sakhnin hosts
Hapoel Haifa.Roni Steinbach contributed to this report.