BRIAN SCIARETTA - Friday, May 13, 2011
Leo Krupnik and Maccabi Netanya play their biggest game in years on Saturday when they host Bnei Yehuda while Bryan Gerzicich and Kiryat Shmona face Maccabi Haifa on the road Monday.
Maccabi Netanya – Bnei Yehuda
A spot in the Europa League will likely go to the winner of Saturday in the match between Maccabi Netanya and Bnei Yehuda at Netanya's Sar-Tov Stadium.
American Leo Krupnik is likely to start in central defense for Maccabi Netanya.
Maccabi Netanya had their 16 match unbeaten streak snapped on Wednesday in the semifinals of the State Cup with a 3-2 loss to Maccabi Haifa.
Normally in Israel, the winner of the State Cup qualifies for the Europa League. However, if the two finalists of the State Cup qualify for the Europa League by virtue of where they finish in the League, the spot is awarded to the fourth place finisher of the Premier League.
Such is the case here and Maccabi Netanya and Bnei Yehuda are both even on points for the fourth spot with Maccabi Netanya holding the better goal differential. Both teams have one more game remaining after Saturday's contest.
Bnei Yehuda will be without defender Aviv Hadad
Maccabi Netanya are not reporting any injuries at this time.
Maccabi Haifa – Hapoel Kiryat Shmona
Bryan Gerzicich and Hapoel Kiryat Shmona have likely seen all chances of a spot in the Europa League vanish following their State Cup loss on Wednesday but they will take on Maccabi Haifa on Saturday who can clinch the Israeli Premier League title with a win.
Gerzicich is likely to start for Kiryat Shmona in the central midfield.
With just two rounds to go in the Championship playoffs, Maccabi Haifa are ahead of Hapoel Tel Aviv by four points and a win would clinch the title.
For Kiryat Shmona, they currently sit in sixth place in the playoffs and trail the third and the fourth places teams by two points. For them to qualify for Europe, they would have to hope for a win over Haifa and for a draw in Saturday's match Maccabi Netnaya- Bnei Yehuda.
Neither team are reporting any injuries at this time.