Maccabi Haifa were looking forward to be officially crowned the 2021/22 season champions on the pitch at Bnei Sakhnin this past match day, however, there were not enough security personnel to handle the fans at the Moshava Stadium and the league was forced to postpone the contest. The league administration and Sakhnin pointed fingers at one another passing on the blame as to how the mishap occurred just a little over an hour prior to kickoff.
Due to Hapoel Beer Sheva’s draw at Maccabi Tel Aviv, the Greens were able to celebrate their second league title in a row although they would have liked to have done so in front of their rabid supporters.
“We want to apologize to all of the fans, especially the Maccabi Haifa and Bnei Sakhnin supporters,” League chairman Erez Halfon said. “We take Sakhnin’s poor conduct seriously which caused the game to be canceled and we will take harsh measures against them.”
“Since last Wednesday we saw that there were going to be issues because we couldn’t hold the game at our home stadium,” Sakhnin said in response. “It’s incumbent upon us as sportspeople to upkeep the values of the sport on the field of play.”
Ten-man Beer Sheva were able to squeeze out a 1-1 draw with Maccabi Tel Aviv at Bloomfield Stadium. Nikita Rukavytsya was issued a straight red card after a reckless tackle on Matan Baltaxa in the 15th minute which led to Elyon Almog’s opening goal just at the stroke of halftime when he nodded the ball home off of a Brandley Kuwas pass. But Miguel Vitor headed the ball into the corner of the yellow-and-blue goal in the 75th minute to earn a point.
“We deserved to be in the lead in the first half and we needed to maintain our pace in the second half,” Maccabi coach Mladen Krstajic explained. “We had chances but didn’t take advantage of them. We couldn’t do anything as they tried to play the game on their terms which is what they did. Everything was in our hands and we controlled the game but we gave up an easy goal.”
“It wasn’t easy to play with just ten men from the 18th minute,” Beer Sheva coach Elayaniv Barda said. “We have received many red and yellow cards this season and unfortunately we have had to deal with this on a regular basis.
Beitar Jerusalem and Kiryat Shemona played to an entertaining 3-3 draw at Teddy Stadium in the capital city. Gleofilo Hasselbaink scored his first of two goals in the 40th minute off of a Liran Rotman assist to give the hosts a 1-0 lead but Itamar Shviro scored the equalizer right at the stroke of halftime to head into the break all knotted up at 1-1.
Niv Zrihen dribbled around a number of defenders to give Yossi Abukasis’s squad the lead in the 59th minute and a quarter hour later Hasselbaink recorded a brace to put Beitar up 3-1. But, Slobodan Drapic’s team didn’t gave up as Mohammed Shaker cut the lead in the 93rd minute and Adrian Rotchet scored from the penalty spot deep into second half injury time after having been pulled down in the box to earn a split of the points.
“We weren’t smart and enough as well as focused near the end of the game,” Beitar coach Yossi Abukasis said. “It’s disappointing because we could have scored more but we missed. The players did a great job and no one wanted to see this club relegated. I’m happy that we took the points when we needed to and played well. We wanted to stay in the premier league and that’s what we did.”
“I told the guys that after such a season we couldn’t lose this game,” Kiryat Shemona bench boss Slobodan Drapic explained. “They wanted to make sure that no one would be them in the playoffs and now we can go into the offseason with our heads held high.”
Maccabi Netanya and Hapoel Tel Aviv played to an entertaining goalless draw as two penalties were called off by the VAR (Virtual Assistant Referee) and the sides split the points at the Netanya Stadium.
“We were dominant,” Netanya coach Benny Lam stated. “We wanted to win this game and as a coach when I saw two penalties called off I was afraid we would be the one who would give up a goal. Hapoel Tel Aviv didn’t come to beat us and perhaps were looking ahead to the Derby.”
“This wasn’t a very good game of ours,” Hapoel coach Kobi Refuah said. “We against an excellent team who are the best at pressing their opponents. We played the long ball as we knew what Netanya’s strong points are and they didn’t even have a quality chance all game long. The Derby is important for the fans and we definitely remember what happened in the last game.”
Maccabi Petah Tikva downed Hapoel Hadera 4-3 in a goalfest at the Moshava Stadium. The hosts scored a trio of goals in the first half as Lameck Banda, Eitan Azulay from the penalty spot and Arab Bar gave Omer Golan’s team a 3-0 lead at the break. However, the visitors came back to cut the lead to 3-2 on goals by Afik Katan and Aviel Ben Hemo but Ion Nicolaescu scored to bump the lead back up to 4-2. Maxim Plakushenko slotted home a penalty in injury time but it was too little too late as Petah Tikva snatched the win.
“I asked the players to keep the pride of the club and that’s what they did,” Petah Tikva coach Omer Golan said. “I told them to play for themselves and the club for the first time in three months with no pressure. The guys know how to play but we fell apart in money time this season.”
“I have had a good run here at Hadera,” Coach Menachem Koretzky said as he will not be continuing with the club next season and will be in charge of Kiryat Shemona. “I want to thank everyone as I have finished a chapter of my life and will continue with another. I am looking to do the best that I can and build an attacking team.”
Hapoel Nof HaGalil slipped by Hapoel Haifa 1-0 on a second half goal by Omer Fadida to part ways with the top division with a win as they will play next season in the Leumit League.
Immediately following the game, Nir Klinger was named the new head coach of the Carmel Reds, “I’m very happy to return to Haifa for my third term. The connection that I have with the club has bore some very nice fruit throughout the years and the goal is to repeat that.”
Hapoel Jerusalem blanked Ashdod 1-0 thanks to Guy Badash’s 87th minute goal to hand the capital city reds the 3-points at the port city.
“The guys did what they had to do,” Jerusalem bench boss Ziv Arie said. “We won the games that we needed to in order to stay in the premier league. I believe that things will work out for me to stay at the club and I hope that next season we can challenge the top of the standings.”
“We wanted to win five games and we ended up taking four,” Ashdod coach Ran Ben Shimon said as his club’s season came to an end. “Overall I’m happy with the team and how we finished the campaign off.”