Maccabi Netanya, Hapoel Tel Aviv 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
The battle against relegation will only be decided with the final whistle to the
season this weekend after Maccabi Petah Tikva recorded its third straight
victory on Tuesday while Hapoel Haifa and Hapoel Beersheba could only manage to
Petah Tikva remains in the relegation zone despite its 2-1 victory
at Hapoel Acre, but Moshe Sinai’s men are now just one point off Beersheba and
safety after the southerners drew 0-0 at Hapoel Ramat Hasharon, with Haifa a
further point in front after a goalless deadlock against Betar Jerusalem at
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
However, it has risen from the dead with three straight
wins combined with unexpected results by Haifa and Beersheba, giving it a real
reason to believe it can maintain its Premier League status for another
After Danny Preda did all the hard work down the left flank,
Marwan Kabha tucked Petah Tikva’s opener into an empty net in the 11th minute,
with Victor Merey doubling the team’s advantage with a clinical header 11
minutes into the second half.
Stefan Scepovic’s volley two minutes from
time ensured a tense finish in Acre, but Petah Tikva held on for the three
points and enters its final match of the season at home against Ramat Hasharon
brimming with confidence.
“I really hope we can complete this comeback,”
said Sinai. “We have won three straight games and we were simply the better team
today. It is very difficult to play when your fate isn’t in your own hands, but
we are playing for our lives.”
Petah Tikva could find itself relegated on
Saturday even if it defeats Ramat Hasharon should Beersheba beat Betar Jerusalem
at home and Haifa avoid defeat against Hapoel Petah Tikva, with Haifa having a
vastly superior goal difference.
Beersheba had its chances to score on
Tuesday, but it was also lucky not to concede, with Ramat Hasharon’s Moshe
Abutbul hitting the crossbar with his free kick in the 82nd minute.
began the match well but then faded,” said Beersheba midfielder Yossi Shivhon.
“We gave our all and reached some chances, but couldn’t convert them. We
are disappointed with the result, but our fate is still in our hands. If we win
our last match we will stay up. We will be hosting our final game and will have
the backing of our fans and we believe we will remain in the Premier
Also in the relegation playoffs, Hapoel Petah Tikva beat Hapoel
Rishon Lezion 2-0 in an encounter between two teams already preparing for life
in the National League.
Fabian Stoller (52) and Armon Ben- Naim (85)
scored for Petah Tikva.
The fight for European qualification also remains
wide open after Maccabi Netanya defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv 3-1 at Bloomfield
Stadium on Tuesday night.
Omer Damari gave Hapoel the lead in the ninth
minute, but Hen Ezra’s superb strike in the 31st minute tied the score and Hen
Reuven put the visitors in front in the 75th minute.
squandered a chance to equalize when he missed a penalty in the 79th minute and
Firas Mugrabi clinched the win in the second minute of stoppage time after a
swift team move.
Netanya moved up to fourth with the win, tied on points
with Bnei Yehuda and two points behind Hapoel.
On Wednesday, third-placed
Bnei Yehuda hosts Maccabi Tel Aviv, while Maccabi Haifa visits Ironi Kiryat
Also Tuesday, Ashdod SC beat Bnei Sakhnin 2-1.