BRIAN SCIARETTA - Thursday, May 10, 2012
Leo Krupnik and Maccabi Netanya kept their Europa League dreams alive while Bryan Gerzicich and champions Kiryat Shmona lost their final home game of the season.
Hapoel Tel Aviv 1-3 Maccabi Netanya
Maccabi Netany kept their dreams of spot in next year's Europa League alive with an impressive win on the road against Hapoel Tel Aviv.
American Leo Krupnik started in central defense for Maccabi Netanya and picked up a yellow card in the 37th minute.
Omer Damari put the hosts ahead in the 9th minute when he took a long pass, split the defense, and hit a low shot past Netanya keeper Touvarno Pinas for a 1-0 lead.
The lead lasted until the 31st minute when Maccabi Netanya equalized thanks to a perfectly hit shot from Hen Ezra from 12 yards into top right corner to even the score at 1-1.
In the 75th minute, Chen Reuven put Netanya up 2-1 via a tap in goal.
Minutes later Netanya defender Ido Levy conceded a penalty but Pinas made an incredible save to preserve the lead.
In injury time, Frias Mugrabi put the game out of reach for Netanya when he scored on his first touch from 13 yards for a 3-1 lead.
To qualify for the Europa Maccabi Netanya must win their final game of the season against Bnei Sakhnin and hope that Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Tel Aviv draw in their game. They can also get into the Europa if they win and results go in their favor in the final of the State Cup.
Kiryat Shmona 0-1 Maccabi Tel Aviv
Kiryat Shmona clearly have their foot off the gas pedal after clinching the Israeli title weeks ago. Still they probably would have liked to have had a better result than a 1-0 loss to Maccabi Haifa in their final home game of the year
Los Angeles native Bryan Gerzicich started and went the distance for Kiryat Shmona in central midfield.
Maccabi Haifa still has hopes of qualifying for the Europa League and they came out strong. In the 11th minute they scored the only goal of the game through a strike from Alon Turgeman.
This Saturday, Kiryat Shmona will conclude their fantastic season with a game on the road against Maccabi Tel Aviv.