Sakhnin's 2-1 victory brings team to 10th position in standings.
By ALLON SINAI
Bnei Sakhnin injected new life into the Premier League title race on Sunday night, stunning Maccabi Haifa at the Doha Stadium and bringing Hapoel Tel Aviv within striking distance of the reigning champion and league-leader.Sakhnin claimed a well-deserved 2-1 victory over Haifa, climbing to 10th position in the standings and handing Tel Aviv’s championship challenge a significant boost.Tel Aviv may still be trailing Haifa by eight points after Sunday’s match, but with the gap to be halved in three weeks time ahead of the final five-game stretch, the Reds will be feeling they once more have a chance to catch the Greens.Sakhnin looked sharp right from the start and very nearly made the breakthrough after two minutes. Ahmed Kasoum surprised Nir Davidovich with a powerful effort from outside the box, but the ‘keeper was up to the task and tipped the ball over the crossbar.The hosts continued to dominate the possession in the subsequent minutes, with Haim Banoon’s booming shot going just high.In the 28th minute, Sakhnin was finally rewarded for its excellent play.A great team move down the left was finished off at the far post by a Liran Cohen volley, sending the local support into delirium.AdvertisementHaifa finally found its rhythm after going behind, but Shlomi Arbeitman squandered two golden opportunities and Sakhnin still led at the break.Haifa coach Elisha Levy introduced Vladimir Dvalishvili and Ali Osmanat halftime, but it was Sakhnin which also scored the second goal ofthe night.A woeful mistake by defender Dekel Keinan left Hamad Ganayem with aneasy one-on-one with Davidovich and he had no trouble rounding the‘keeper and doubling Sakhnin’s lead.Arbeitman scored his 24th league goal of the season from the penaltyspot in the 87th minute, but it was too little too late for Haifa,which could well have Hapoel Tel Aviv breathing down its neck when thegap is halved in three weeks time.
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