Maccabi Tel Aviv are champions of Israeli soccer once again as Vladimir Ivic’s side captured their second league title in as many years after defeating Hapoel Tel Aviv 3-0 at Bloomfield Stadium. The championship is the club’s 24th in the franchise’s history and 5th in eight years under Canadian based owner Mitch Goldhar.
After a goalless first half, Avi Rikan was pulled down in the box giving Nick Blackman the chance to score via a penalty which he promptly did from 11 meters. Eitan Tibi added an insurance marker with a fantastic bicycle kick in the box off a Yonatan Cohen free kick while Itay Shechter head home the third goal in the 90th minute to begin the celebrations. This was the yellow-and-blue’s second Tel Aviv Derby win in as many weeks and haven’t lost to the Reds in league play since 2014.
The back to back championship winning coach Vladimir Ivic reflected on the title, “I believe that we were the best team throughout the year and we played up until now 33 goes what we have done is amazing, It’s not something you can do every year but we have had two greet seasons in a row. The players did a fantastic job and worked hard and that is why they achieved what they did today. It’s not easy to accomplish what we did in back to back years.”
Maccabi Haifa slipped by Hapoel Beer Sheva 2-1 at Sammy Ofer Stadium. Nikita Rukavytsya added to his league leading goal total with his 20th strike just 12 minutes into the game to give the Greens a 1-0 advantage. Five minutes later things went from bad to worse for Beer Sheva when Oren Bitton was issued a red card after a second yellow for a reckless tackle leaving the southern squad with just ten men for the balance of the match. Ben Sahar drew the Reds even in the 48th minute but Sinteyahu Sallalich headed home a Sun Menachem free kick 13 minutes later to give Haifa the three points.
Hapoel Hadera and Hapoel Raanana played to an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Netanya Stadium. Lucio opened the scoring in the 4th minute to give Hadera the lead but Or Dasa tied the game up ten minutes later for Raanana. Menashe Zalka helped Hadera retake the lead in the 27th minute but Eugene Ansah found the equalizer in the second half to split the points.