Maccabi Tel Aviv not letting up in title race

Yellow-and-blue cuts deficit from Beersheba with win over Kfar Saba.

Hapoel Tel Aviv goal-scorer Aaron Schoenfeld (left) battles Maccabi Tel Aviv defender Omri Ben-Harush (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Hapoel Tel Aviv goal-scorer Aaron Schoenfeld (left) battles Maccabi Tel Aviv defender Omri Ben-Harush
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv kept the heat on Hapoel Beersheba on Saturday, moving within two points of the Premier League leader with an emphatic 5-0 victory over Hapoel Kfar Saba at Bloomfield Stadium.
With the final stretch to the season officially getting underway next weekend with the start of the championship playoffs, Maccabi is hoping that maybe Beersheba will finally slip up when it hosts Bnei Sakhnin on Monday on the back of a club record eight-match winning streak, triumphing in 18 of its past 20 games.
Maccabi visits Beersheba at Turner Stadium in two weeks and continued to build momentum towards that showdown with a fourth straight victory on Saturday, tying its biggest win of the season.
The yellow-and-blue got off to a flying start thanks to Dor Micha’s goal in the third minute and Portuguese striker Orlando Sa netted a brace (33, 48) to effectively secure the three points. Eran Zahavi then took his tally for the season to 27 goals with a penalty in the 59th minute, three shy of Nissim Elmalich’s record for goals in a season from the 1954/55 campaign, before Barak Itzhaki capped the scoring one minute from time.
“I saw a lot of good things but in the first half there were also things that weren’t so good. But overall it was a fantastic game for Maccabi,” said Maccabi coach Peter Bosz, who insisted he is focused on his team’s play rather than Beersheba’s. “We only look at ourselves.
“We have no influence on their game and we can only influence our game and that is what we need to do.”
Kfar Saba remained just four points above the relegation zone and is still in danger of joining rock-bottom Maccabi Netanya in the National League next season.
Bnei Yehuda took a big step towards securing its survival on Saturday, moving eight points clear of the bottom two with a 2-0 win over Hapoel Ra’anana.
Pedro Galvan (22) and Amir Agajev (87) scored for Bnei Yehuda.
There are still only five points separating Maccabi Petah Tikva in eighth and Hapoel Haifa in 13th, which hosts Maccabi Haifa in the derby on Sunday.
Hapoel Tel Aviv will find itself in the relegation zone should Hapoel triumph in the Haifa derby, after drawing 1-1 with Maccabi Petah Tikva on Saturday.
Aaron Schoenfeld gave Tel Aviv the lead in the 25th minute, but Giddy Kanyuk equalized three minutes from the break to give new Petah Tikva coach Danny Golan a point on his debut.
Maccabi Netanya lost all hope of survival long ago, but it dented Hapoel Acre’s chances on Saturday, with the team’s drawing 1-1. Moti Malka gave Netanya the lead after five minutes, with Zion Zemach (28) equalizing for the hosts. Netanya’s Itzik Cohen missed a penalty in the 71st minute.
Third place Beitar Jerusalem registered a season-best fifth straight win on Saturday, defeating Ironi Kiryat Shmona 2-0 on the road.
Claudemir (45) and Nikita Rukavytsya (65) scored for Beitar for a second straight week.
“We are enjoying ourselves,” said Beitar coach Slobodan Drapic. “We played against a dangerous team in a tough stadium, but we made the match easy and the players deserve all the credit.”