Hapoel Tel Aviv's Iyad Khutaba 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Barring an unprecedented collapse, Maccabi Tel Aviv will soon clinch a first
Premier League title since 2003.
Hapoel Tel Aviv has seemingly secured
third position in the standings, with second-placed Maccabi Haifa likely out of
Nevertheless, Saturday night’s derby between Tel Aviv’s two top
teams at Bloomfield Stadium is guaranteed to be as fervent as ever, with local
pride taking precedence over all else.
Hapoel, in particular, has got
something to prove after being humiliated 4-0 in the most recent derby in
Maccabi steamrolled the helpless Reds with a champion’s
performance, effectively ending Hapoel’s title hopes while also forcing the
sacking of coach Yossi Abuksis a week later.
Hapoel has continued to
struggle for form under interim coach Freddy David, but has still managed to
grind out results.
The Reds are unbeaten in six league matches under
David, winning their past three to move seven points clear of Ironi Kiryat
Shmona in the battle for third place and European qualification.
defeated Kiryat Shmona 3-1 on the road on Wednesday to reestablish a 10-point
lead at the top of the standings and needs just four wins from its final seven
encounters to secure the championship even should Haifa triumph in all seven of
its remaining contests.
After drawing 0-0 with Maccabi Tel Aviv last
Saturday, Haifa returned to winning ways in the most convincing of fashions on
Tuesday, crushing Hapoel Ramat Hasharon 6-0 at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium for its
16th victory in its past 19 matches.
The Greens will hope to continue
their unstoppable form when they host Kiryat Shmona on Saturday.
the championship playoffs, Ramat Hasharon welcomes Bnei Yehuda.
seems that everything has been decided at the top end of the table, the battle
against relegation looks set to go down to the wire.
Just seven points
separate the seven bottom sides, with two of them to be demoted to the National
League at the end of the season.
Hapoel Haifa (32 points) has climbed out
of the relegation zone by going undefeated in its past seven matches. However,
it will be leapfrogged by Hapoel Ramat Gan (29), which is currently positioned
four places below it, should it lose the showdown between the two teams at
Kiryat Eliezer on Saturday.