Round 26 is the last week of regular football as we head into the playoffs! There will be upper playoffs pitting the top 6 teams against each other in two games a piece as well as lower playoffs where the bottom 8 teams play each other only once. The last two clubs to be relegated.
Hapoel Beer Sheva fell to Hapoel Raanana in a shock defeat. Raanana did not lose to Beer Sheva and did not concede a goal in the two matches they played this year. Maccabi Tel Aviv will want to take advantage of the loss and set their sights on Hapoel Tel Aviv in a Monday night derby!
Hapoel Raanana 1-0 Hapoel Beer Sheva
Arguably Hapoel Raanana’s biggest victory this season may have come at the expense of Hapoel Beer Sheva’s biggest defeat as nothing seemed to go right for the number two club in the country. Beer Sheva did not show much offense for the second straight game and Elisha Levy must be shaking his head as to what happened to the potent offense powered by Glynor Plet, Elyaniv Barda, Maor Bozaglo and company. Raanana’s goal cam off a cross bar rebound that Saar Benbenishti headed it in past Austin Ageida for not only his first goal of the year but also to pick up the valuable three points and the win.
Hapoel Ramat HaSharon 1-2 Maccabi Haifa
Maccabi Haifa settled into 4th place tied on points with Kiryat Shemona but a bit behind on goal differential heading into the upper playoffs which begin next week. Haifa’s goal scorers Alon Turgeman and a resurgent Idan Vered will be serious factors in the final 10 matches as Haifa will attempt to lock down a European position for next season as they move into the brand new 30K seat Sami Ofer Stadium. Yossi Shivchon found the back of the net for RHS but it was not enough against a game Green squad.
Bnei Yehuda 0-0 Hapoel Kiryat Shemona
Bottom of the table team Bnei Yehuda escaped a tough opponent in Kiryat Shemona but one point may not be enough to salvage a season. Heading into the lower playoffs Bnei Yehuda needs points a plenty to stay up but Yossi Abuksis’s team couldn’t produce a goal. On the other side of the pitch Kiryat Shemona under the tutelage of Barak Becher have been a wonderful story solidifying their position in the table as they get ready for the upper playoffs that begin next week.
Beitar Jerusalem 0-1 Bnei Sakhnin
In a battle of hated rivals, it was the visiting side from Sahknin that collected the win at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem over a shell shocked Beitar Jerusalem. Roni Levy the Beitar coach still has been unable to find the recipe to score goals as his side goes a second game in a row losing 1-0. Though the Beitar defense has been much more organized since Levy’s arrival in January, his offense has still sputtered even after bringing in additional players that Eli Cohen did have at his disposal. This match saw Avraham Paz scoring on a header off a Muhamed Calibat feed in the 83rd minute. Andres Tunez picked up a red card in the 73rd minute that didn’t help the Beitar cause as the supporters rained down jeers at the Sakhnin faithful and MK Ahmed Tibi. Sakhnin gets ready for the upper playoffs and Beitar prepares for their State Cup match against Kiryat Shemona in the northern city next week.
Hapoel Haifa 0-1 Maccabi Petach Tikva
Lidor Cohen secured the 3-points for the visiting Maccabi Petach Tikva team at Kiryat Eliezer stadium in Haifa as both clubs will be playing in the lower playoffs beginning in two weeks. Just a few days ago, Maccabi Petach Tikva stalwart Omer Golan retired at the age of 31 due to injuries. Golan was a prolific scorer for the team and also was an important contributor to the National side.
Hapoel Akko 1-1 Ashdod
Two clubs waiting to head into the lower playoffs came away with a point a piece on Akko. Amoram Shekalom helped Ashdod to a 1-0 lead in the 57thn minute but Ismail Rian’s header in the 61st tied it up for the home side.