Local Soccer: Hapoel TA's relegation worries continue after defeat at Ashdod

Hapoel is now just two points off the relegation zone and next weekend faces league champion-elect Betar Jerusalem at Bloomfield t.

jp.services1 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
Hapoel Tel Aviv's worries are far from over after Eli Gutman's team put up little fight in a 2-1 loss at Ashdod SC on Saturday night. The Reds were in a confident mood going into this weekend's round of games after defeating Maccabi Herzliya last week, but the players will have some soul searching to do in the coming week, especially following a missed penalty at Ashdod. Hapoel is now just two points off the relegation zone and next weekend faces league champion-elect Betar Jerusalem at Bloomfield t. Israel international Moshe Ohayon was the man of the match on Saturday, controlling the play around the pitch. But it was Bulgarian Dimitar Makriev who scored both goals for the hosts - one in each half -, while Bibres Natcho pulled one back for Tel Aviv six minutes after the first goal. Also Saturday, Bnei Yehuda made the relegation battle a little more interesting, with a 2-0 home win over Maccabi Herzliya. Asi Baldut and Moshe Biton scored for the Oranges, but Bnei Yehuda is still stuck at the foot of the table, six points from Herzliya in 11th place. While Betar Jerusalem is practically guaranteed the title, the battle for UEFA Cup places contined on Saturday. Elisha Levy was all smiles after seeing Bnei Sakhnin draw level on points with Ironi Kiryat Shmona with an impressive 1-0 win over Maccabi Haifa. A classy backheel from Ilya Yavorian from a Maor Buzaglo cross gave Sakhnnin the win. Second-placed Maccabi Netanya disappointed with a 1-1 draw at Hapoel Kfar Saba, while Kiryat Shmona kept a hold on third after defeating Guy Luzon's continuing failing Maccabi Petah Tikva at home. In Ashdod, Makriev's 19th minute goal appeared to knock the stuffing out of Hapoel. But the Reds came back and in the 25th Baruch Dego crossed expertly from the left hand side for Demitar Telkiyski who headed the ball down for Natcho to knock past Sammy Adjei in the Ashdod goal. Now Hapoel was full of life, pushing up and looking for the lead. And the visitors should have gone ahead in the 43rd when Shlomo Arbeitman was pulled down in the box to win a penalty, but Shai Abutbull's weak effort was saved by Adjei. The second half was all Ashdod and Makriev's winner in the 59th minute was well deserved. David Revivo nearly made it 3-1 in the a minute before the end when he turned in Shai Holtzman's cross but the ball was saved off the line by Omri Canada. The final match of the weekend will see Betar Jerusalem host Maccabi Tel Aviv at Teddy Stadium on Sunday evening.