Soccer: Haifa held by Hapoel Tel Aviv at Bloomfield

With two matches remaining in the season, Hapoel is five points clear of Ashdod SC and the relegation zone, and may well survive even if it loses its next two games.

jp.services2 (photo credit:)
jp.services2
(photo credit: )
Hapoel Tel Aviv edged closer to another season of Premier League soccer on Sunday night, drawing 1-1 with Maccabi Haifa at Bloomfield Stadium. With two matches remaining in the season, Hapoel is five points clear of Ashdod SC and the relegation zone, and may well survive even if it loses its next two games. Lior Rafaelov gave Haifa the lead in the first minute of the second half on Sunday, but all in all Hapoel was the better side after the interval and Baruch Dego gave it the point it deserved with a goal in the 54th minute. The first 45 minutes saw each team create one good chance. In the 30th minute Walid Badier had time and space in the Haifa box, but his volley was well-saved by 'keeper Nir Davidovitch. Less than a minute later Hapoel keeper Vincent Emyeama had no trouble saving Biram Kial's weak shot at the other end. The second half was less than 60 seconds old when Haifa finally found the opener. Thembinkosi Fanteni's back-heel set-up Rafaelov, who turned in his own rebound after Enyeama saved his original shot. Haifa's lead wouldn't last long as the hosts surged forward immediately in search of an equalizer. In the 54th minute Hapoel got the goal it deserved after Fabio Junior's cross was headed in by Dego. Five minutes later Tel Aviv almost took the lead, but was denied twice by the woodwork. Dego's header came off the crossbar and Shlomo Arbeitman, who was first to the rebound, hit the right post with a header as well. Both teams continued to create chances as the match drew to a close and each could have easily snatched all three points. The best opportunity fell to Haifa after a great Fanteni pass found Rafaelov in plenty of space in the 74th minute, but the midfielder made an awful mess of his shot and the hosts were spared.