Maccabi Petah Tikva grabs lifeline as Be'er Sheva and Hapoel Haifa stumble
Hapoel Tel Aviv and Bnei Yehuda still battling it out for second place.
With only two games left, Maccabi Petah Tikva gave themselves a chance to avoid relegation yesterday, after beating already-relegated Rishon Letzion 2-1.
Petah Tikva scored twice in the second half and held on to their lead. Moshe Sinai's charges are now only three points behind Hapoel Be'er Sheva, who stumbled to a 3-1 defeat against Hapoel Acre, and four points behind Hapoel Haifa, who needed a win to secure another term in the premier league but could only manage a 1-1 draw with Ironi Ramat Hasharon.
Beitar Jerusalem, not too long ago the most frustrated free-falling club in the league, completed its eighth consecutive win, beating already-relegated Hapoel Petah Tikva 2-0, without really moving above second gear.
Hapoel Tel Aviv took another step toward securing second place and a Europa League place with a 2-0 win over Ashdod. Maharan Lala took advantage of a rare start this season and scored twice to secure the three points. After demolishing Sakhnin 3-1 at Doha Stadium, Bnei Yehuda could still catch up with Hapoel; they have now claimed an impressive 13 out of 15 possible points in the playoffs so far.
Champions Kiryat Shmona appeared to be heading for a loss against Maccabi Netanya, after falling behind in the first half, but responded with three second-half goals to keep their honor intact. For the first time this season, Netanya fans booed coach Reuven Atar, who will coach Maccabi Haifa next season.