Local Soccer: Bnei Yehuda survives in great escape

Hapoel Kfar Saba relegated after three seasons in the Premier League.

bnei yehuda yay 224 88 (photo credit: asaf kliger)
bnei yehuda yay 224 88
(photo credit: asaf kliger)
After three seasons in the Premier League, Hapoel Kfar Saba was relegated on Saturday night, despite defeating Hapoel Tel Aviv 1-0 at Bloomfield Stadium. Kfar Saba's fate was no longer in its own hands after losing seven of nine matches entering into this weekend's fixtures and Samuel Yeboah's winner in the 83rd minute was surely the saddest in the side's history. A slip-up by Maccabi Petah Tikva, Bnei Yehuda or Ashdod SC on Saturday would have been enough for Kfar Saba to survive, but all of the other endangered sides claimed victories and left Eli Ohana's team stranded in the relegation zone due to an inferior goal difference. "We were relegated on goal difference just as we survived on goal difference two seasons ago. That's sport and you need to know how to accept it," Ohana said. "A combination of injuries, sending offs, and lack of luck got us in this situation. The team was desperately lacking in confidence and we made mistakes you can't afford to make." Maccabi Petah Tikva was three minutes away from being relegated on Saturday, but Omer Damari's goal in the 87th minute secured the team's Premier League status. "This is the sweetest goal of my career," Damari said. "Petah Tikva deserved to stay up and we will do everything so that such a season will never be repeated." Bnei Yehuda completed its great escape with a 1-0 victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv at Winter Stadium. Moshe Biton scored the only goal of the match in the 29th minute, giving the team its eighth win in nine matches. Before its amazing run the club from southern Tel Aviv was 11 points from safety, but since Hezi Shirazi and Ya'akov Asayag took charge there was no stopping Bnei Yehuda. "You can't explain this. We've done something unbelievable," Asayag said. "To win eight out of nine matches is extremely difficult. When Shirazi told me that we need to win all our matches until the end of the season to survive I laughed in his face." Yossi Mizrahi guided Ashdod to a third straight win on Saturday, maintaining his 100 percent record since he was named the club's coach. Ashdod beat Maccabi Haifa 2-0 at home thanks to goals from Dimitar Makriev (22) and David Revivo (36). "It's not easy to claim nine out of nine points," Mizrahi said. "This team has achieved something amazing and I'm very proud of the players. They went through a very tough season, but they won when they had to." On Friday, Bnei Sakhnin defeated Betar Jerusalem 2-1 at Teddy Stadium behind goals from Maor Buzaglo (7) and Bogdan Apostu (78), with Toto Tamuz equalizing in the 66th minute. The victory means Ironi Kiryat Shmona has to defeat Maccabi Netanya on the road on Sunday if it's to snatch the UEFA Cup berth away from Sakhnin.