BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, March 12, 2012
The Israeli Premier League title is now all but over as Kiryat Shmona cruised to a win over Hapoel Acre to increase their lead to a staggering 19 points with eight to go.
Kiryat Shmona 2-0 Hapoel Acre
While they have not yet clinched the Israeli title there is clearly no stopping Kiryat Shmona who have now built an insurmountable 19 point lead in the standings.
Los Angeles native Bryan Gerzicich started and went the distance for Kiryat Shmona as he has most games this season.
Kiryat Shmona controlled the game from the beginning but it wasn't until the 44th minute when they broke through after an own goal from Acre defender Moshe Mishaelof. On the play Kiryat Shmona forward David Solari sent a shot that deflected of Mishaelof into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Just four minutes into the second half Kiryat Shmona doubled their lead when Shimon Abuhatzira headed home a Shlomi Azulay cross to give the hosts a 2-0 lead which is how it would finish.
Following the win, it was also determined that second place Hapoel Tel Aviv was docked three points for fan trouble. That therefore put Bnei Sakhnin in second place who trail Kiryat Shmona by 19 points.
With eight games to go, Kiryat Shmona could conceivably clinch the title next week but likely it will be in two weeks during the first weekend of the playoffs.
Next weekend they visit Hapoel Tel Aviv in the last weekend of the regular season. Following that game the seven game playoff series start among the top eight teams in the regular season.
Ironi Ramat HaSharon 0-1 Maccabi Netanya
Maccabi Netanya defeated Ironi Ramat HaSharon on Saturday for their third win in four games to move within striking distance of a Europa League birth.
American central defender Leo Krupnik started and played the full 90 for Maccabi Netanya.
The game's only goal came in the 10th minute when Netanya midfielder Nir Nachum hit a deflected shot that misled Ramat HaSharon keeper Gal Nir for a 1-0 lead.
With the win Maccabi Netanya rose to seventh place in the Israeli Premier League but they are only two points away from second place Bnei Sakhnin.
Maccabi Netanya host Maccabi Tel Aviv next weekend.
New Jersey native Ryan Adeleye started for Hapoel Be'er Sheva and played 61 minutes in their 5-1 drubbing to Bnei Yehuda.