Haifa inches closer to title after win, Maccabi keeps pace

Maccabi Haifa inched closer to the league title with a convincing 2-0 win over Ashdod at Sammy Ofer Stadium by the Carmel Mountain. With a four point lead over Maccabi Tel Aviv and just two games remaining, the victory moved the Greens ever so close to clinching their first Israel League Championship since the 2010/11 season when Coach Elisha Levy led the side to the title.

Just a minute after a penalty for Haifa was called off by Israeli international referee Orel Grinfeld, Nikita Rukavytsya took matters into his own hands as the league’s leading goal scorer finished off an Omer Atzily assist to give Barak Bachar’s squad a 1-0 lead in the 39th minute. Godsway Donio doubled the advantage in the 75th minute when he put away a brilliant pass by Tjraon Chery to seal the win and take the three points. A Haifa win midweek at Kiryat Shemona coupled with a Maccabi Tel Aviv draw or loss at Ashdod will give the Greens the championship.

Maccabi Tel Aviv kept pace with the table leaders as they blanked Maccabi Petah Tikva 3-0 thanks to a trio of second half goals to take the points at the Moshava Stadium. After a dry first half, Eduardo Guerrero latched onto a Dor Peretz through ball and elegantly chipped it over a helpless Arik Yanko to give Patrick van Leeuwen’s squad a 1-0 advantage.

Six minutes later Dan Bitton sent a red hot Itay Shechter on his way to take a 2-0 lead but just minutes later had to be stretchered off due to an injury. Dor Peretz put the finishing touches on the victory when he scored a well deserved goal from in close following an Eylon Almog effort in the 78th minute to stay alive in the championship race with just two contests left in the season.

Hapoel Beer Sheva just got by Kiryat Shemona 3-2 thanks to a David Keltjens 99th minute winner deep into injury time action to snatch the points and keep their chances alive for a European qualification place. Elton Acolaste opened the scoring in the 25th minute to give Beer Sheva a 10 lead but Roie Kehat scored from the penalty spot just before the break to head into halftime knotted up at 1-1.

A Josue penalty in the 55th minute gave Roni Levy’s squad a 2-1 lead but Eugen Ansah came through with a massive goal in the 78th minute to once again level the score. However, David Keltjens played hero in the 99th minute to grab the points at the death when he beat Džiugas Bartkus inside the box to take the win.

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