Local Soccer: Upper Nazareth, Kfar Saba post victories

Nazareth surprises an apathetic Betar Jerusalem as an already downtrodden Bnei Sakhnin loses to Kfar Saba.

The battle for Premier League survival will go down to the last week of the season after Hapoel Upper Nazareth and Hapoel Kfar Saba both won Sunday night. Nazareth surprised Betar Jerusalem at Teddy Stadium, defeating the hosts 2-0. Betar was apathetic throughout the 90 minutes and showed nothing of the form that has brought it to third place in the standings. Kfar Saba defeated already relegated Bnei Sakhnin 1-0 and kept itself just ahead of Nazareth. The teams are tied on 34 points with Kfar Saba ahead of Nazareth thanks to a far superior goal difference (minus-10 vs minus-21). Kfar Saba will secure a place in next season's Premier League if it beats Maccabi Netanya away from home in next week's final round of games. Nazareth, which will be hoping Kfar Saba slips up, might need to beat Bnei Yehuda to stay in the league. "We have one more game remaining and I hope we will finish off the job next week," Kfar Saba coach Eli Ohana said after the match. "It's all in our hands and we need to win next week." Nazareth, which only won one of its last 10 matches coming into Matchday 32, took the lead at Teddy in the 13th minute of the match after Zoltan Polop blasted the ball under keeper Itzik Korenfein. Two minutes after halftime, Nazareth scored a valuable second goal. Guillermo Israelevitch was brought down by Korenfein and Giorgi Hristov converted the penalty. Jerusalem was reduced to 10 men in the 75th minute after David Aganzo, who came on as a substitute at halftime, hit out at Israelevitch and rightfully received a red card. Nazareth comfortably held onto its lead against a depleted Betar and secured the precious three points. "We're in a very difficult situation and battling as hard as we can to do our best to stay in this league," Upper Nazareth coach Motti Ivanir told The Jerusalem Post after the match. "We took three very important points today against a very, very good team. The players gave their hearts on the field." Hapoel Kfar Saba matched its rival's win by battling past Bnei Sakhnin and picking up all three points. Two minutes from the interval, Avi Knafo found himself free inside the Sakhnin box and slotted the ball in to give his team the lead. Ten minutes into the second half, Sakhnin was left with 10 men after Salah Hasarma was sent off for remarks made towards the referee. Sakhnin continued to push forward in search of an equalizer despite its one-man disadvantage but Kfar Saba had no intention of letting the win slip away. Jeremy Last contributed to this report.