Status quo at top after goal-fest at Bloomfield

Mac TA remains 10 points clear after 2-2 deadlock with Bnei Yehuda, Haifa draws 2-2 with Hap TA.

Maccabi Tel Aviv 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv remained on course to claim a first Premier League championship in 10 years on Saturday night despite only managing a 2- 2 draw against Bnei Yehuda at Bloomfield Stadium.
Tel Aviv came back from two goals down thanks to an Eran Zahavi brace (34, 42) which canceled out strikes from Adam Hrepka (13) and Gil Itzhak (24).
However, with the afternoon kickoff at Bloomfield between secondplaced Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Tel Aviv also ending in a 2-2 draw, the yellow-and-blue remained 10 points clear at the top of the standings with just five more matches to be played this season.
Maccabi Tel Aviv could even clinch the championship next week should it beat Hapoel Ramat Hasharon and Haifa lose to Bnei Yehuda.
“We only started to play in the 25th minute and against a team like Bnei Yehuda you can not do that,” said Maccabi coach Oscar Garcia. “We can’t afford to play 50 percent, we have to play all the games at 100 percent.
I never say a draw is a good result, but after 25 minutes I thought it was a good result.”
Earlier Saturday, a sensational longrange shot by Shay Abutbul gave Hapoel Tel Aviv a 15th-minute lead over Haifa, but Dino Ndlovu continued his recent excellent form, equalizing 16 minutes later.
Shlomi Azulai capped the comeback and gave the Greens a deserved lead in the 61st minute, but it took Hapoel just one minute to level the score, with Abutbul finding the back of the net once more thanks to a fortuitous deflection.
“We conceded two goals from long range, but we could have won this match,” said Haifa coach Arik Benado, whose team faces Ironi Kiryat Shmona in the State Cup semifinals on Wednesday. “Hopefully we will beat Kiryat Shmona, but we also want to continue and win in the league regardless of the margin from first place.”
Kiryat Shmona beat Ramat Hasharon 1-0 on Saturday courtesy of Osei Mawuli’s goal in the 69th minute.
After 10 matches, Beitar Jerusalem finally returned to winning ways in the Premier League on Saturday, beating Hapoel Beersheba 1-0 thanks to Avi Rikan’s 63rd-minute winner.
Beitar moved eight points clear of the relegation zone and effectively secured another season in the top flight after picking up three points for the first time since the club was plunged into turmoil following the arrival of Dzhabrail Kadiyev and Zaur Sadayev from Chechen club Terek Grozny in late January.
Rock-bottom Maccabi Netanya (29 points) and Hapoel Ramat Gan (30) remained in the relegation zone after their showdown on Saturday ended in a 0-0 deadlock, but Bnei Sakhnin (32) and Hapoel Acre (32) are also still fighting for their lives after drawing 1-1.
Yero Bello (29) gave Sakhnin the lead, with Guy Dayan (43) equalizing for Acre.
Hapoel Haifa (35) has still got some work to do before it guarantees its survival after losing 1-0 at Ashdod SC on Saturday. Michael Siroshtein scored the only goal of the match two minutes from the break.