Runaway leader Maccabi Tel Aviv survived an early scare to rescue a point in a 2-2 draw with Bnei Yehuda at Bloomfield Stadium Saturday.
Instead of opening up a 12-point lead Maccabi Tel Aviv found itself on the back foot having conceded two goals in the first 25 minutes to Adam Hrepka and Gil Itzhak, but recent signing Eran Zahavi proved his worth with two sublime goals before halftime to keep the Yellows on course for the title.
The league’s second- and third-placed teams, Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Tel Aviv, also played out a 2-2 draw. Hapoel’s season has gone from poor to worse of late but the former top dog had midfielder Shay Abutbul to thank for his excellent brace, which returned some of Hapoel’s lost pride. Abutbul put the Tel Avivans ahead with a 25-meter piledriver, but Haifa fought back through Dino Ndlovu and Shlopmi Azoulay to make it 2-1 on the hour. But the lead only lasted two minutes before Abutbul, the game’s outstanding player, equalized with aplomb.
In the lower-tier playoff, Beitar Jerusalem won its first game in 10 thanks to an Avi Reikan goal that saw off Hapoel Be’er Sheva in front of a paltry 2,400 fans at the capital’s Teddy Stadium. Ashdod meanwhile secured another season in the top flight with a 1-0 victory over fellow struggler Hapoel Haifa.