Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Netanya played to a listless 0-0 draw to split the points in front of yellow-and-blue owner Mitch Goldhar at Bloomfield Stadium.
“We need to take this game as a lesson,” Maccabi coach Aitor Karanka began. “We knew what we had to do with the ball against a team like Netanya which is to be aggressive like them and we didn’t do that. We need to understand that if we are not 100% we will have a tough time.”
“It’s too bad, we had our chances and maybe if we would have been a bit more on top of the ball near the box we could have done it but on the other hand we didn’t concede and that is where it all begins on the defensive end,” Netanya bench boss Rom Kozuk said.
Hapoel Beet Sheva slipped by Hapoel Jerusalem 2-1 to take the 3-points in the capital city. Eugene Ansah scored to give the southern reds a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute while Patryk Klimala doubled the advantage in the 54th minute. Sagiv Yehezkel’s own goal off a Guy Badash free kick cut the lead twenty minutes later but that was as close as the hosts would get as Elyaniv Barda’s squad wrapped up the win.
“We only took one point in the last two games and we went to a tough stadium to play a team that has collected more points than us in the playoffs,” Barda said. “We knew it was going to be a tough match and we were happy at the end of the game. When we play our style then things go the way we want them to.”
“We failed as to how we came into this game and we were confused as to the playoffs and where we are,” Jerusalem coach Ziv Arie explained. “We rightfully lost this game, we were naive and we didn’t deserve to win.”
Maccabi Bnei Reineh downed Hapoel Tel Aviv 2-1 to leapfrog the reds on the table and move into 10th place. Lukas Spendhofer headed home the opening strike while Mark Koszta added an insurance marker in the 81st minute. Liad Ramot scored in second half injury time but it was too little, too late as the visitors took the 3-points.
“We got ourselves messed up,” Reds coach Haim Silvas said. “In a relegation battle game you can’t give up goals especially from set pieces because then you have to chase and that makes things a lot more difficult. The bottom line is that Hapoel Tel Aviv will stay in the league and I am sure we will be abele to do just that.”
“This was a very important win and a big step towards staying in the league,” Reineh coach Sharon Mimer explained. “We have three more games to out the final stamp on this terrific season and the players deserve a ton of credit as they have sone some great things in money time.”
Kiryat Shemona and Sektzia Nes Ziona drew 1-1 as Roie Kehat’s header was cancelled out by a second half injury time marker by Yoni Stoyanov to split the points.
“This is as cruel as it gets,” Kiryat Shemona coach Slobodan Drapic said. “You think you’ve been through the most cruelest of things in the game of soccer and then something happens that is even worse. We had to win this match and score as many goals as we could. We will need to lift ourselves up despite not being in control of our own destiny.”
“We were very naive this entire campaign,” Nes Ziona coach Shlomi Dura said. “We lost many points in small details that shouldn’t have happened but at the end of the day the team that should be relegated will be and if that is us than it will be us as we aren’t in last place for no reason.”
Hapoel Haifa and Bnei Sakhnin played to a 2-2 draw to tale a point a piece. Alon Turgeman scored a pair of goals to give the Carmel Reds a 2-0 lead but Basil Khuri and Muhammad Awad scored late in the game to split the points.
“I will Abe leaving the team,” Sakhnin coach Kobi Refuah said. “I told management two weeks ago and I want to thank them and wish the club luck. We will give it all over the course of the last three games. This was a challenge for me and I enjoyed myself.”
“Very, very disappointing,” Haifa coach Roni Levy began. “We played a terrific game and we had plenty of chances but we couldn’t take advantage of them. We should have scored 6 goals and we gave up two goals that we shouldn’t have. It’s disappointing and upsetting but that’s football.”