Hapoel Ramat Gan 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
After advancing to just its second State Cup final in club history, Hapoel Ramat
Gan will hope to keep the momentum rolling and climb out of the Premier League
relegation zone with a win at Bnei Sakhnin on Saturday.
defeated Hapoel Rishon Lezion of the National League 2-1 in Wednesday’s cup
semifinals thanks to Israel Zaguri’s stoppage-time goal.
Cohen’s men have won just one of their past six league games and sit in 13th
position out of 14 teams with 30 points.
Sakhnin is one place and two
points above Ramat Gan and the relegation zone, and with just three more matches
remaining, Saturday’s showdown is critical for both sides.
“The win in
the cup can give us a massive push in the battle against relegation,” said Ramat
Gan coach Eli Cohen. “To be honest, I was very worried about going into
extra-time as I didn’t want the players to tire.
“When I won the cup with
Ramat Gan 10 years ago we were in a very similar situation, so I’m hoping that
once more we can remain the top flight and lift the cup, while Maccabi Tel Aviv
will win the championship the way it did in 2003.”
Sakhnin is unbeaten in
its past four matches, but it has won only one of its last nine contests, and
will host Saturday’s match in Nazareth after it was punished for its fans’ poor
Maccabi Netanya finds itself in the direst of situations
entering Saturday, stranded in last position after going winless over its past
nine games, including the last three under new coach Reuven Atar.
(29 points) hosts on Saturday an Ashdod (39) team which has got little to play
for after beating Hapoel Haifa 1-0 last week to effectively secure itself
another season in the Premier League.
“There is no way back from this
match,” said Atar. “We haven’t played well enough in recent matches, but we are
now arriving to our final three games and I believe our season will end on a
While Netanya has yet to benefit from replacing Tal Banin
with Atar, coach Yuval Naim has injected new life into Hapoel Acre since taking
charge of the team in early February.
Acre (32) has lost just one of its
last 10 matches and visits Hapoel Beersheba (34) on Saturday.
holds a four-point gap from the relegation zone, but will be looking to calm its
nerves with a home victory on Saturday.
Also Saturday, Hapoel Haifa,
which is one point ahead of Beersheba, hosts Beitar Jerusalem (38).
the championship playoffs, Hapoel Tel Aviv hosts Ironi Kiryat Shmona, which is
brimming with confidence after stunning Maccabi Haifa in the cup
Haifa visits Bnei Yehuda on Sunday, and should it lose,
Maccabi Tel Aviv will be able to officially clinch the championship with a win
over Hapoel Ramat Hasharon on Monday.