Nick Blackman helps Maccabi Tel Aviv leapfrog Haifa into 1st place


Maccabi Tel Aviv downed Hapoel Beer Sheva 2-1 as striker Nick Blackman bagged a brace for the two time defending champions as they moved back into first place ahead of their clash with Maccabi Haifa on Tuesday. The yellow-and-blue took the lead in the 42nd minute when Eylon Almog sent a brilliant cross into the box that Blackman nodded behind a helpless Ohad Levita for a 1-0 advantage just ahead of the break. Blackman doubled the Maccabi lead in the 56th minute when he tapped home a Tal Ben Chaim rebound but Sagiv Yehezkel pulled a goal back a quarter hour later but it was too little too late as Patrick van Leeuwen’s squad recorded the win and took the 3 points.

Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Petah Tikva played to a 1-1 draw at Sammy Ofer Stadium by the Carmel Mountain and now ready for their top of the table contest with Maccabi Tel Aviv. Tjaron Chery found the back of the goal in the 17th minute after taking a Sun Menachem cross to give Barak Bachar’s side a 1-0 lead. But starlet Liel Abada beat Haifa keeper Josh Cohen in the 50th minute to draw Guy Luzon’s squad even. Haifa controlled the pace of play and had multiple chances to find the winner as time wound down but couldn’t find a way past Arik Yanko as the teams to split the points.

Ashdod and Kiryat Shemona drew 1-1 to split the points at the port city in to kick off the Championship Playoffs. Muhamed Shaker broke the deadlock in the 37th minute when Lucio fed him a perfect pass to give the northerners a 1-0 lead. Two minutes later things went from bad to worse for Ashdod as Roie Gordana was sent off after his second yellow card reducing Ran Ben Shimon’s sward to ten men for the balance of the match. However, Zakaria Mugeese who was making his debut for Ashdod took a Tom Ben Zaken ball and slammed it home in the 63rd minute to earn a point a piece.

Hapoel Tel Aviv slipped by Hapoel Hadera 1-0 as they continued to move further away from the relegation zone and climb up the table. After a goalless first half, striker Shlomi Azulay found the ball in the box after an errant clearance by Hadera and slotted it home for the only marker of the match in the 53rd minute giving the Reds the valuable 3-points.

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