Mac Netanya notches win; Hap Haifa tops Beitar

Midfielder Yossi Shivon scored Maccabi Netanya’s opener in last night’s crucial 2-1 victory over Ashdod SC.

YOSSI SHIVHON370 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Netanya climbed out of the relegation zone with its first Premier League victory in 10 matches on Saturday, beating Ashdod SC 2-1.
Netanya entered the weekend rock bottom of the standings after going winless over its past nine contests, including the previous three under new coach Reuven Atar.
However, it leapfrogged Hapoel Ramat Gan and Bnei Sakhnin with Saturday’s win, resurrecting its hopes of remaining in the top flight.
The match between Bnei Sakhnin and Ramat Gan in Nazareth was stopped in the 38th minute on Saturday due to a waterlogged pitch and is set to resume on Tuesday.
Yossi Shivhon gave Netanya the lead after less than two minutes, but Murad Abu Anza silenced the local crowd with an equalizer in the 61st minute.
However, Kobi Dajani’s header in the 75th minute gave Netanya all three points and finally brought a smile to Atar’s face.
“We played well throughout the match and we have taken a step in the right direction,” said Atar. “However, we need to continue in this direction.”
Hapoel Haifa effectively secured itself another season in the Premier League, defeating Beitar Jerusalem 3-1 at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.
Vladimir Gluscevic made the most of Beitar’s dismal defending to give Haifa an 11th-minute lead, before an embarrassing mistake by Jerusalem’s substitute ’keeper Ohad Saidof gifted the hosts the second goal of the night, which was credited to Gal Arel (30).
Amit Ben-Shushan gave Beitar a lifeline with a goal five minutes later, but Haifa held on and Ran Abukarat completed the scoring in stoppage time.
Haifa moved ahead of Beitar on goal difference with the win, but with a sixpoint gap from the relegation zone and just two more matches to play, Jerusalem has no reason to worry about its top flight status.
Hapoel Beersheba and Hapoel Acre, on the other hand, look set to battle against relegation until the final minutes of the season after their showdown in Beersheba on Saturday ended in a 0-0 deadlock.
Acre (33), which has lost just one of its last 11 matches, is currently just one point ahead of the relegation zone, with Beersheba a further two points in front.
Ironi Kiryat Shmona thrashed Hapoel Tel Aviv 4-1 at Bloomfield Stadium on Saturday, with Shimon Abu Hazeira scoring all four of Kiryat Shmona’s goals (47, 64, 78, 80).
Ramzi Sfuri equalized for Hapoel (54), but Abu Hazeria terrorized the red defense and Kiryat Shmona closed to within only two points of Tel Aviv in the battle for third place.
Maccabi Haifa visits Bnei Yehuda on Sunday, and should it lose, Maccabi Tel Aviv will be able to officially clinch the championship with a win over Hapoel Ramat Hasharon at National Stadium in Ramat Gan on Monday.