Hap Beersheba closer to avoiding relegation

Win keeps Southerners six points up on pesky Maccabi Petah Tikva with three matches to go.

BNEI YEHUDA’S Dino Ndlovo (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Beersheba took a significant step towards another season of Premier League soccer with a 1-0 win at Hapoel Rishon Lezion on Saturday, but Maccabi Petah Tikva has still got some hope of survival after beating Hapoel Petah Tikva by the same score-line to remain six points from safety with three matches to play.
Ryan Adeleye scored Beersheba’s winner in the 49th-minute in Rishon, a goal which not only boosted his team’s hopes but also officially relegated the hosts.
“We are not safe yet,” said Beersheba coach Guy Levy. “We didn’t play well, but we took the points and that is all that matters.”
Hapoel Petah Tikva was already relegated two weeks ago, but it entered Saturday’s derby with plenty to play for, hoping to defeat its arch-rival and take it along to the National League.
However, Maccabi’s Victor Merey scored the winner with a 60thminute header and kept his team six points from Beersheba with nine points left to play for.
“This victory may have come too late,” admitted Maccabi Petah Tikva coach Moshe Sinai.
“We haven’t got a very good chance to stay up, but as long as we have any chance we will continue to fight. I still believe we can do it.”
Hapoel Haifa is also still not safe, holding a six-point cushion on the relegation zone after drawing 0-0 with Hapoel Acre on Saturday.
The battle for European qualification remains far tighter, with Hapoel Tel Aviv climbing to second place on Saturday with a 3-1 win over Bnei Sakhnin at Bloomfield Stadium.
Goals from Maharan Lala (45) and Omer Damari (51) put Hapoel in the driving seat, but Maharan Radi (66) brought Sakhnin back into the game from the penalty spot, with Hapoel’s Walid Badier being sent off for his foul on Ohad Kadusi, meaning he will miss the State Cup semifinals on Wednesday.
However, Sakhnin’s hopes would be short lived, with goalkeeper Mahmud Kannadil being given his marching orders in the 71st before Shay Abutbul secured the victory three minutes later with an expert free kick.
Bnei Yehuda moved up to third on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Maccabi Haifa.
Pedro Galvan (21) and Dino Ndlovo (34) scored for the hosts at Bloomfield, while Alon Turgeman (68) netted a meaningless consolation for Haifa, which is counting the days until Reuven Atar takes the helm in place of current coach Elisha Levy.
Bnei Yehuda announced on Saturday that Dror Kashtan will be its coach next season, returning to the club a year after leaving for Hapoel Tel Aviv.
The former Israel coach was sacked by Hapoel in early January and will replace Yossi Abuksis at Bnei Yehuda, with the latter to become Eli Gutman’s assistant in the national team at the end of the season.
Ironi Kiryat Shmona won its first match since being crowned as champion on Saturday, defeating Ashdod SC 1-0 courtesy of Shimon Abu Hazeira’s (74) goal.
The match in Kiryat Shmona was officiated by Lilach Asulin, marking the first time a female referee has taken charge of a top-flight encounter.
Betar Jerusalem hosts Hapoel Ramat Hasharon on Sunday, while Maccabi Netanya can return to second place with a win over Maccabi Tel Aviv on Monday.