Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Petach Tikva 2-0 on goals by Eran Zahavi & Dior Micha to lead the table going into the playoffs with 54 points, 5 ahead of second place Beer Sheva and 7 in front of fading Kiryat Shemona. Maccabi will take on Maccabi haifa at Bloomfield on Sunday evening in a huge test for both sides while Hapoel Petach Tikva need to find some wins in order to escape the bottom of the league. Defender Carlos Garcia spoke to the media and his comments are above!
Beer Sheva moved into 2nd place overall by taking care of overmatched Sakhnin 2-0 at Wassermil Stadium. Elyaniv Harda scored a brace as he provided the offense for the home side. Elisha Levy’s team leapfrogged over Kiryat Shemona and now trails just table leaders Maccabi Tel Aviv heading into the upper playoffs which begin next week as Beer Sheva will face Maccabi Petach Tikva.
Beitar Jerusalem did exactly what they needed to and made it into the upper playoffs for the first time in 5 years with a 2-0 win over Hapoel Raanana. The home side under Haim Silvas had flirted with the upper playoffs the last couple of months but fell short and will begin the lower playoffs in 7th place. Claudemir Ferreira scored off a 1st half free kick to give Beitar a 1-0 lead as Lidor Cohen doubled it with a goal late in the second half to give Guy Levy the chance to play the best teams in Israel over the next few months!
After such a turbulent season thus far Maccabi Haifa secured their place in the upper playoffs with a 2-0 win over Hapoel Haifa in the city’s Derby. Taleb Tawatha scored a beauty of a goal as Yossi Benayoun made a perfect pass to Eliran Atar in the box who gave the ball off to Tawhatwa with a cheeky backheel as the defender rifled the ball past Kovar! Idan Vered finished off their crosstown rivals with a goal of his own late in the game to ensure The Greens made it into the upper playoffs and a date with Maccabi Tel Aviv next week at Bloomfield Stadium.
In a back and forth affair, Netanya scored in the 88th minute to secure the 3-points in yet another solid result by the club under coach Roni Levy. Diaa Sabia scored in the 10th minute giving Netanya a quick 1-0 lead only to have Tom Mond draw the team’s even later on the 1st half. Then it was Gadi Kinda scoring a sensational goal from 25 meters out as he celebrated his first goal of the year with Ashdod owner Jackie Ben Zaken. However the lead was short lived as Larry Kayode fed Ori Shitrit the ball for his first of the year and then Abu Abaid Eyad scored his first goal in the league off a Diaa Sabia free kick to send Ashdod to yet another loss and perhaps Nir Klinger’s last game at the helm of the port city club.
Ran Ben Shimon has done brilliant work this year managing Maccabi Petach Tikva as he guided his club into the upper playoffs in one of the surprises in Israel this season. Without a star play Ben Shimon has done a wonderful job of molding this club in his image and put away a struggling Hapoel Tel Aviv side at the Moshava Stadium. Guy Melamed scored on a header as Hapoel keeper Tom Almondon missed the ball and swung at the air instead of the ball giving the home side the valuable goal. Gidi Kanuk added a second goal after Sari Falah saw red and was sent off for Tel Aviv. Lucas Sasha Pacheco brought a goal back when he converted a penalty when Petach Tikva keeper Itamar Nitzan pulled Sasha down in the box.
Kiryat Shemona has been going the wrong way for a while now not picking up a win in 5 straight league matches as they go down yet again to last place Akko. The home side picked up the 3-points on goals by Ioannis Papadopoulos & Ahmed Kasum with coach Shlomi Dura slowly but surely picking up point after point in an attempt to escape the cellar. For Kiryat Shemona the loss leaves coach Barak Bachar shaking his head trying to figure out where his club’s scoring has gone with only 3 goals in the last 5 games.