Ashdod, Bnei Yehuda face ties in relegation scrap

Just two points separate four of the Premier League's five bottom teams ahead of the season's penultimate round of matches.

hapoel TA soccer 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
hapoel TA soccer 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
The relegation battle enters the final stretch on Saturday, with just two points separating four of the Premier League's five bottom teams ahead of the season's penultimate round of matches. Apart from rock-bottom Maccabi Herzliya, which looks to be doomed, Ashdod SC is in the worst position. Despite beating Ironi Kiryat Shmona 2-0 last week in Yossi Mizrahi's first match in charge, Ashdod is still in the relegation zone, one point from safety. Ashdod visits Bnei Sakhnin on Saturday, knowing that anything but a victory could see it be relegated next weekend. Sakhnin will not make Ashdod's life easy, as it will be looking to claim all three points in its chase of a UEFA Cup berth. Sakhnin is currently two points ahead of Kiryat Shmona in the race for third position which guarantees European qualification. Maccabi Petah Tikva and Hapoel Kfar Saba are each a single point ahead of Ashdod and will face Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Tel Aviv, respectively, on Saturday. Even though they're not yet mathematically safe, both Tel Aviv clubs have all but secured their Premier League status and Petah Tikva and Kfar Saba will be hoping to take advantage of that on Saturday. Bnei Yehuda will look to extend its league best seven-match winning streak on Saturday when it visits Maccabi Netanya. The team from southern Tel Aviv has a 13-1 goal difference during its remarkable streak, but is bound to face some stern resistance at Netanya. Maccabi had won three consecutive games before its loss at Betar Jerusalem last week and needs the points to wrap-up the runners-up position for a second straight season. Also Saturday, Betar will continue its double celebrations at Kiryat Shmona, while Roni Levy guides Maccabi Haifa at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium for the last time in its match against Herzliya.