Bnei Sakhnin relegated to National League

Lose by solitary goal to Maccabi Petah Tikva to end a three year spell in the top flight.

bnei sakhnin fans 88 (photo credit: )
bnei sakhnin fans 88
(photo credit: )
Bnei Sakhnin's three year spell in the Premier League, which included a State Cup win in the 03'-04' season and brief stint in the UEFA Cup, has come to a bitter and disappointing end. It was a goal from Maccabi Petah Tikva's former Cameroon international Patrick Sufo which finally sealed the fate of Shiye Faigenbaum's Sakhnin team. Sakhnin suffered its fourth straight loss and became the first team out of the two to be relegated to the National League this season. The identity of the second team to be relegated is not yet clear, as Hapoel Kfar Saba and Upper Nazareth both managed draws against Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Tel Aviv respectively. Both Kfar Saba and Nazareth now have 31 league points, but Kfar Saba has the advantage thanks to a superior goal difference. Newly crowned champion Maccabi Haifa, powered by a Shlomi Arbitman brace, easily prevailed against Hapoel Petah Tikva, while Betar Jerusalem barely managed a draw against Ashdod SC, missing the opportunity to take second place for Hapoel Tel Aviv. In Petah Tikva, The "Luzon's", still without injured striker Omer Golan, controlled the flow of the game all along with Salim Toema dominating the midfield. Sakhnin couldn't contain the hosts in the 69th minute, when a Toema initiated attack was finished in style by Suffo, who scored Maccabi Petah Tikva's 1700th goal in the club's Premier League history. "I still can't believe we lost this game." Faigenbaum said. "We gave it our very best, but I guess that the team's condition was too critical and we eventually couldn't salvage the points." Ashdod SC 1, Betar Jerusalem 1 Luis Fernandez decided to bench his young forward Amit Ben Shoshan in order to make place for Frenchman Jerome Leroy, who returned from a one-game suspension. But the results of the change were not optimal and the first half ended in a lackluster stalemate. The second half was played at a faster pace and Ashdod struck first in the 52nd minute. Idan Shriki took full advantage of a rare Tomer Ben Yosef blunder and knocked in the ball from close range to give the hosts the lead. However the team from the capital soon hit back. Barak Itzhaki came to his team's rescue, as he has done many times this season. The slick forward entered the game in the 54th minute and proved his worth yet again. The yellow-and-black was awarded a free kick in the 76th minute. Fabrice Fernandez lofted the ball into the box and Yitzhaki rose above the Ashdod defense and headed in the dramatic equalizer. Betar's plans of scoring the winner took a decisive blow when Maor Melikson was sent off after receiving his second yellow card in the 83rd minute. Hapoel Petah Tikva 0, Maccabi Haifa 2 Shlomi Arbitman made the hosts pay in the very first minute of the encounter after intercepting a Ravid Gazal defensive pass and providing a cool finish. Rafael Olara was sent off in the 47th minute after arguing with the assistant referee, but the greens opted to stay on the offensive and made Petah Tikva pay again in the 70th minute. Idan Tal took control of the ball in midfield and sent an accurate 40-meter pass towards Arbitman, who used his pace and sent the ball into the far corner to seal the fate of the game. Maccabi Netanya 2, Bnei Yehuda 1 Netanya produced an inspired performance, despite missing injured Tal Banin and Ibrahim Abdul Razek, and won the game with two quick second half goals. The yellows drew first blood when Amir Taga scored in the 56th minute from inside the box, after intercepting Alain Masudi's piledriver that rebounded off the goal post. Moshe Biton tied the score just six minutes later after a brilliant slalom by Moshe Biton on the right flank. But Netanya took the lead yet again when Dekel Keinan glanced in the ball in the 68th minute, in a goal that turned out to be the winner. Upper Nazareth 1, Hapoel Tel Aviv 1 Substitute Giorgi Hristov gave the hosts the surprise lead after breaking Hapoel Tel Aviv's offside trap and rolling the ball into the net in the 69th minute. But the reds found the equalizer in the 84th minute, when full back Asi Domb headed in a Yossi Abuksis cross and denied Motti Ivanir's side the victory. Maccabi Tel Aviv 0, Hapoel Kfar Saba 0 Eli Ohana's greens played a tactically sound game and had many chances to return from the Bloomfield stadium with all three points, but striker Samuel Yeboah was very inaccurate in front of goal and was unable to break the deadlock. The result summed up the failure of the Tel Aviv team to live up to it's "Galcticos" nickname it received at the start of the season.