Akko has completed the impossible staying up in the Ligat Ha’Al for yet another season. The team had been ticketed to relegation for the past few months, but coach Shlomi Dura came on board to save the club from the Ligat Leumit and accomplished what most thought was never ever going to happen. Branislav Jovanovic and Ioannis Papadopoulos who came over from Bnei Sakhnin at the transfer window deadline scored for Akko while Eran Levy answered with a 32nd minute penalty. The victory also means that Hapeol Petach Tikva will be relegated and that Saturday’s clashes will determine which club between Hapoel Haifa & Ashdod will join Petach Tikva in the Leumit.
Beitar Jerusalem who were docked 2 points last week for racists chants directed towards Achmed Abed a couple of weeks ago came into this match knowing they would need maximum points to push ahead of Haifa. However, a 1-1 draw was in the cards as Beitar ruled the first 45 minutes and Haifa the last. Lidor Cohen opened the scoring for the hosts in the 17th minute as Beitar showed their youth and quality with end to end action. Marko Balbul made some adjustments in the 2nd half bringing in veteran midfielder Miguel Marcos Madera who had a terrific match last week against Maccabi Tel Aviv. Again this week his insertion changed the Greens fortunes as Weam Amasha was able to sneak one by ‘keeper Boris Kleiman to even the score. Though the teams are level on points with 44, Haifa holds a slight goal advantage over the Capitol’s club.
Kiryat Shemona pulled to within 5-points of 1st place Maccabi Tel Aviv after winning at home over Maccabi Petach Tikva 2-0. Rodgers Kola opened the scoring in the 65th minute heading in his 11th goal of the season while Adrian Rotchet scored in the 90th minute to keep the northern club’s slim championship hopes alive.
In a relegation battle it was the visiting team Hapoel Petach Tikva under coach Menachem Koretzky who picked up the valuable 3-points to try to stay in Ligat Ha’Al. Dor Hugi gave Petach Tikva a 1-0 lead but Ashdod youngster Niv Zrihan scored his first of the game and evened the score just minutes later. Michael Tukura gave the blue and white another short lived lead as Zrihan broke down Ashdod’s poor defense and scored his second of the match. However, Yeye Peti knocked Tukura down in the box and Dor Hugi completed his brace by converting a penalty. Liroy Tairi finished Ashdod off for ten final goal of the evening as Petach Tikva sit in last place with 29 points with Ashdod in 2nd to bottom position with 31pts. 31pts
Haifa kept their hopes alive shocking Raanana in the final minuets of the match turning around 1-0 deficit to a 2–1 lead. Eli Babayev struck first for Raanana but Hamdi Salihi and Zarko Korac both obtained at the transfer deadline scored for Haifa to give the visitors a valuable victory that moved them out of the relegation zone and into 11th place.
As these two clubs fight for position at the top of the lower playoffs it was the home side that took the convincing win and 3-points. Sakhnin received goals from Feras Magharbeh and Muhamed Ghadir as they sent the Reds of Tel Aviv back empty handed.