Maccabi Haifa made sure to give their fans and head coach Barak Bachar quite a finale as the Greens dismantled Hapoel Jerusalem 5-0 to end their season in style. With five different goal scorers in what was Bachar’s last game on the Haifa bench before heading to Red Star Belgrade, Sammy Ofer Stadium was rocking all game long as the fans couldn’t get enough of their heroes. Following the game Massay Dego who led the Youth Team to the league title as well as in the Champions League in a group with PSG, Juventus and Benfica.
Dia Saba sent Dean David on his way for the opening goal in the 16th minute while Frantzdy Pierrot doubled the advantage twenty minutes later. Saba once again played facilitator for Abdoulaye Seck’s goal right ahead of the break while Omer Atzily did the same for Tjaron Chery as Haifa took a 4-0 lead by the 65th minute. An active Saba who has orchestrated the offense then had his chance to score as he sent a 16 meter scorcher into the back of the reds goal to wrap up the blowout win.
Following the contest, Haifa hoisted the Championship plate to the delight of the crowd while each individual player and staff member received a special medal for their accomplishment.
“Of course, now I can say that I am going to join Red Star,” Bachar said. “It’s exciting to look back and see that we had three incredible season with so much success. The connection between the staff, players, management and fans is fantastic and the club knows how to do things the right way.”
“The decision to leave was very difficult. I had two weeks that I needed to decide and it was tough. But I felt that at the end of the day I had to make a change and I made the decision with my head and not my heart. I decided to go and begin a new challenge and I am satisfied with that choice. I will always keep the door open and I am happy that we took the championship after having an incredible season and we ended it in the best possible way.”
Also after the game, the new head coach Massay Dego spoke about being named as the club’s bench boss, “I’m proud and excited and I am thankful for the faith that has been put in me. This is a huge challenge and we will continue to fight for all of the titles while taking Haifa to new heights. I expect that there will be a lot of hard work which will begin immediately. I will do everything to make our incredible fans happy.
Hapoel Beer Sheva blanked Maccabi Netanya 2-0 to wrap up second place as they will play in UEFA Conference League qualification matches beginning in July while the diamond city squad will now prepare in earnest for the Israel State Cup Final on Tuesday against Beitar Jerusalem. Sagiv Yehezkel put the southern reds in front in the 29th minute when he put home an Itay Schecter ball while Ramzi Safouri added an insurance marker late in the second half to give Elyaniv Barda’s side the 3-points and the win.
“We’re very happy and content,” Barda began. “Over the past couple of seasons we have been close to wining the title and have been in contention deep into the playoffs. We came close to making it out of the group stages of the Conference League and missed out by one goal. We captured the Super Cup and made it to the Toto Cup finals where we lost on penalties. That was our season but we want more.”
“We all had a good season,” Netanya coach Ron Kozuk said. “Now we are focusing on the State Cup. I understand the importance of the game and we have to win it. The Cup is important for the entire club and the fanbase.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv ended their campaign on a high note as they downed Ashdod 2-1 at the Port City. Eylon Almog gave the yellow-and-blue an early lead but Yakov Brihen found the equalizer in the 24th minute. However, Dor Peretz headed home an 84th minute winner to give Aitor Karanka’s team the victory.
“It’s too bad we didn’t win every game and that is the mentality that we need to have going forward,” Karanka said. “This was a tough game especially because we were missing many central players but everyone who did play including Avi Rikan who played his last game with club, battled.”
Ran Ben Shimon who will be departing Ashdod after four seasons looked back at his tis with the club, “There were so many exciting moments that will always be close to my heart. I don’t have anything coming up but I felt that after four years it was time to part ways. We were a strong attacking team that played many youngsters which I am proud of.”