First half goals by Barak Itzhaki and Rade Prica handed Maccabi Tel Aviv an important 0-2 away victory against Bnei Sakhnin. Home side midfielder Haled Halaula was sent off in the second half for a second bookable offence

Matchweek 20 of the Israeli Premier ("Winner") League saw Maccabi Tel Aviv travel to Netanya to play their away tie against Bnei Sakhnin. Two goals at either end of the first half sufficed Maccabi to walk away from the contest with a 0-2 win and all three points that maintained their position atop the Israeli Premier League table, three points ahead of their nearest rival Hapoel Beer Sheva, whom they will host next Sunday at Bloomfield Stadium starting at 8.50pm in what is already being tagged in the media as the "Match of the Season".

Maccabi opened the scoring early on in the first half when midfielder Mahran Radi threaded a splendid long ball from just inside his own half between two Sakhnin defenders to find striker Barak Itzhaki in front of goal. In two slick moves, Itzhaki mastered the ball and chipped it elegantly over the head of the onrushing Sakhnin keeper Mahmoud Kanadil to give Maccabi an early 0-1 lead. Just after the twenty minute mark, another effective Maccabi attack saw young midfielder Dor Micha pass a ball back from the right side of goal to the feet of an upcoming Gal Alberman in the centre of the area, but the veteran midfielder lifted the ball high above the net. Twenty minutes later Micha was again in action, volleying a cross by Rade Prica to Eran Zahavi in the area, but the star midfielder's shot also went high. Two minutes later, however, Maccabi were on the scoreboard for a second time, and once again it was a long ball from Mahran Radi that set up the goal. This time he found striker Rade Prica on the left side of the area with just one defender to beat, and the veteran striker expertly shot the ball past Kanadil into the far post to double Maccabi's advantage at half time to 0-2.


When the teams returned from the break, Maccabi continued to press the Sakhnin defence and just four minutes after the restart Eran Zahavi tried his luck from 16 metres but his powerful effort hit the top of the net. Four minutes before the hour mark, Bnei Sakhnin were down to ten men after midfielder Haled Halaula saw his second yellow card of the evening for a foul on Rade Prica. The resulting free kick, taken expertly by Mahran Radi from outside the area, ricocheted off the crossbar, but Prica's attempt to steer the rebound into the net went wide. Twenty minutes from time a long ball found Barak Itzhaki to the left of goal and his pass back into the centre fell at the feet of Eran Zahavi, but the midfielder's effort from close range was blocked by a well-placed Kanadil. Ten minutes later Kanadil dived well to his right to push into safety a Zahavi free kick that was heading into the lower left corner of the net. The final ten minutes of the match passed without incident, as had in fact most of the match for the Bnei Sakhnin attack, that managed just one shot on target throughout the whole evening. Maccabi secured their 0-2 victory and three important points in their campaign to retain the Israeli Premier League title.