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Hapoel Tel Aviv midfielder Hen Ezra.(Photo by: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Tel Aviv facing costly date in court
Reds to be deducted nine points because of overwhelming debt, draw with Sakhnin; Haifa held by Ra’anana.
Hapoel Tel Aviv is set to drop to the bottom of the Premier League standings on Sunday, with nine points to be deducted from its total assuming the Tel Aviv District Court approves its request for a stay of legal proceedings due to debts estimated at over NIS 100 million.

Hapoel will fall to six points from 13 matches, five points from safety, with a court nominated trustee to try and reach agreements with the club’s many creditors, while looking for a new owner to replace Amir Kabiri as soon as possible.

Hapoel has won just one of its last six league matches, drawing 1-1 with Bnei Sakhnin at Petah Tikva on Saturday.

Abraham Paz gave Sakhnin the lead in the 71st minute, but Hen Ezra’s goal eight minutes later ensured Hapoel wouldn’t lose.

“Every player did his best and we can take many positives from this match,” said Hapoel coach Guy Luzon. “I knew Hapoel was in a bad state when I came and I don’t regret my decision. We have no choice and we must unite. That is our only option in the current situation.”

Maccabi Haifa missed a chance to climb to second place on Saturday, once more failing to win on the road, drawing 1-1 at Hapoel Ra’anana.

Haifa has won just one of seven games away from home so far this season and needed Eliran Atar’s spectacular 70th-minute strike to take a single point against Ra’anana, which took the lead through Eli Babayev (40).

Hapoel Ashkelon snapped an 11-game winless streak with a 1-0 victory over fellow struggler Bnei Yehuda on Saturday.

Lassina Dao scored the only goal of the match in the 11th minute, giving Ashkelon its first win since August.

Also Saturday, Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Hapoel Kfar Saba drew 2-2.

Mauricio (36) and Ido Davidov (83) twice gave Kiryat Shmona the lead, with Diogo Kachuba (41) and Ran Itzhak (89) leveling for the hosts.

On Sunday, Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Hapoel Haifa and Maccabi Petah Tikva goes to Ashdod SC.

Maccabi Tel Aviv has fallen 10 points behind leader Hapoel Beersheba after winning only one of its past six league games, failing to score in five of them. The yellow-and-blue picked up some much-needed confidence by beating Dundalk 2-1 in Europa League action last Thursday, but it was a frustrating victory after AZ Alkmaar defeated Zenit St. Petersburg 3-2 and advanced to the round of 32 at the expense of Maccabi.

Tel Aviv can close within seven points of Beersheba for at least 24 hours, with the reigning champion visiting Beitar Jerusalem on Monday.
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