Local Soccer: Hap TA faces crucial relegation tie

Ashdod lost 2-0 to Maccabi Tel Aviv; Bnei Yehuda for first time in 8 matches - defeated Bnei Sakhnin 3-1.

antebi dego 224 88 ap (photo credit: AP)
antebi dego 224 88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
Hapoel Tel Aviv can all but clinch Premier League survival with a victory at Ashdod SC on Saturday. Hapoel, which defeated Maccabi Herzliya 2-1 last week, has won five of its last seven league matches, but every one of those victories came at Bloomfield Stadium. The team hasn't won away from Bloomfield in more than two months, but did manage a 1-1 draw in its last visit to Ashdod on February 2. Ashdod, which is four points behind Hapoel and two points from safety, fell to its second defeat in eight matches last week, losing 2-0 to Maccabi Tel Aviv. The team has, however, been playing well recently and will be hoping impressive Bulgarian striker Dimitar Makriev, who has scored seven goals in 10 matches since joining the club, will find the net once again on Saturday. Herzliya will be looking to put some distance between itself and the relegation zone when it visits Bnei Yehuda on Saturday. Bnei Yehuda won for the first time in eight matches last week, defeating Bnei Sakhnin 3-1, but Herzliya will still like its chances of repeating its victory from two months ago at the team from southern Tel Aviv. On Sunday, Maccabi Tel Aviv will look to build on last week's win over Ashdod when it visits Betar Jerusalem at Teddy Stadium. Maccabi Haifa can take a significant step towards UEFA Cup qualification when it visits Bnei Sakhnin on Saturday. Haifa has won its last two league matches since coach Roni Levy announced that he will be leaving the club at the end of the season. The team claimed an important victory over fellow UEFA Cup hopeful Ironi Kiryat Shmona last week and another win on Saturday against Sakhnin will further boost its chances of European qualification. Also Saturday, Maccabi Netanya hosts Hapoel Kfar Saba and Maccabi Petah Tikva visits Kiryat Shmona.