Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Hapoel took center stage this matchday as the sides played to a dramatic 2-2 draw. Gal Arel helped Hapoel to a split of the points when the midfielder scored a controversial penalty deep into injury time. Nikita Rukavytsya opened the scoring when he nodded home a brilliant pass by Dolev Haziza in the box for 1-0 after 26 minutes of action.
Liran Sardel drew the Reds even at 1-1 in the 54th minute when he put home a Kevin Tapoko smart pass but the Greens retook the lead in the 85th minute when Mohammed Awaed slotted the ball by Jasmin Buric thanks to an assist from youngster Suf Podguranu to complete a gorgeous team play.
However, in the 94th minute Ofir Mizrahi fell in the box but it was unclear if Maccabi’s Ernest Mabouka had pulled him down or not. Referee Eitan Shmuelevitz went to the Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR) and after a lengthy analysis determined that indeed a penalty should be awarded as Gal Arel stepped up and scored from the spot as each team left Sammy Ofer Stadium with a point a piece.
Macabi Tel Aviv and Beitar Jerusalem played to a goalless draw at Teddy Stadium. Each squad mustered a number of chances but the Yellow & Blue keeper Daniel Tenenbaum and host shot stopper Itamar Nitzan both shined making the saves when called upon.
Bnei Yehuda blasted Hapoel Hadera 5-0 at Bloomfield Stadium in they second relegation playoff contest. Shay Mazor scored a brace by the quarter hour mark while 19-year old Roie Ben Shimon scored his first Premier League goal by the 18th minute for Elisha Levy’s squad to take a commanding 3-0 lead early on. 17-year old Silva Kani found the back of the goal in his debut for Bnei Yehuda in the 71st minute and Ariel Lazmi put the cherry on top of the blowout victory ten minutes later to wrap up the 3 points. Bnei Yehuda will now look to defend their State Cup title as they ready for Wednesday night’s semifinal against Hapoel Beer Sheva at the Netanya Stadium.
Kiryat Shemona thumped Ashdod 3-0 in the northern capital to give Kobi Refuah his first win of the relegation playoffs. An own goal started the hosts off as Mohammed Shaker’s cross accidentally went off of Nir Bardea and behind keeper Roie Mishpati’s for a 1-0 lead. In the 41st minute, bad luck once again struck Bardea as the defender slipped in the box which allowed Ismaeel Ryan to pounce of the ball and double the Kiryat Shemona lead before the break. 19-year old Abdalla Halaihal finished off Ashdod with his second career goal in the 85th to take the points.
Hapoel Kfar Saba defeated Hapoel Raanana 2-0 as the Greens moved closer to securing their place in the Premier League for next season. On the flip side, the Raanana loss meant that they are almost assured of being relegated to the second division. Gershon Koffie opened the scoring in the 52nd minute when he took an Omer Fadida pass and launched the ball into the back of the goal while Fadida added a marker of his own in the 87th minute for the win.
Sektzia Nes Tziona slipped by Maccabi Netanya 1-0 on a late goal by Dor Kochav to snatch the points. The diamond city side were reduced to 9 men in the second half as Dolev Azulay was shown a straight red in the 54th minute while Karam Jabar was sent off with his second yellow card 14 minutes later. That set up Kochav strike when he out home a Moussa Maâzou cross for the winner.
Hapoel Beer Sheva and Hapoel Tel Aviv played to a goalless draw at Turner Stadium down south as the sides split the points. Both squads will be in action in State Cup play as NIr Klinger’s Hapoel Tel Aviv will prepare for Tuesday night’s semifinal against 2nd division Maccabi Petah Tikva while Beer Sheva will face Bnei Yehuda.