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Update COVID-19 25 October 2020

25 October 2020 — Six (6) new COVID-19 cases were identified out of 1282 samples tested today. This brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases to five thousand, and sixty-six (5066). To date, four thousand, eight hundred, and thirty (4830) patients have recovered, including twenty-four (24) in the past 24 hours. The number of active…
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    Mac Haifa maintains slim lead over Mac TA

     Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Beersheba played to an entertaining 1-1 Israel Premier League draw late Monday night in the southern capital.

    The Greens increased their lead atop the table to two points as they blew a chance to open up a two-game advantage over Maccabi Tel Aviv, which it still needs to play head-to-head for what may be for the championship in a couple of weeks.

    Sagiv Yehezkel opened the scoring for Beersheba in the 24th minute with a gorgeous header, but second-half substitute Tjaron Chery found the equalizer as he slotted home a perfect free kick for Haifa.

    Barak Bachar’s first-place squad had a chance to win the game on a couple of occasions, but Beersheba ’keeper Ohad Levita was up to the task while Miguel Vitor miraculously cleared a ball off the line to keep the result intact.

    “Of course we’re disappointed,” said Bachar following the game. “We weren’t good in the first half, but when Tjaron Chery came in we were much better. We went down 1-0 to a good team, but came back. That is what we will take going forward.”

    Beersheba coach Roni Levi gave credit to his netminder and defender.

    “Ohad Levita and Miguel Vitor saved a point or us today and we will continue pushing ahead,” explained. “We have had a tough time so far in the playoffs, but our opponents have also. We have some quality players and we tried to control the pace of play as much as we could and create chances.”

    Up north, Ironi Kiryat Shmona stunned Maccabi Tel Aviv 2-0 in a game that saw the yellow-and-blue reduced to 10 players.

    After a quiet opening half hour, Maccabi central defender Eitan Tibi was issued his second yellow card, reducing Patrick van Leeuwen’s team by a crucial man.

    Roie Kehat took immediate advantage of the situation and headed home the opening goal deep into first-half stoppage time to give the hosts a 1-0 lead, which was doubled by Mohammed Shaker in the 92nd minute to secure the win and the points.

    “I believe that the referee was too quick in giving out a card,” said Van Leeuwen. “We played with 10 men and we were still better for the majority of the match. We will fight until the end and we will not wave the white flag despite not having won in three championship playoff contests.”

    Kiryat Shmona coach Kobi Refuah was delighted with the result.

    “First off, I think we deserved to win the game despite Maccabi being better than us,” Refuah stated. “We are working hour after hour and I know one thing for sure – that what goes on in the training sessions is what we see in action on the pitch.”

    Elsewhere, Maccabi Netanya downed Hapoel Kfar Saba 1-0 to officially relegate the Sharon Greens to the second division.

    Kevaughn Frater scored the lone goal of the match deep into first-half injury time after taking a perfect pass from Gaby Kanichowsky and sending it behind a helpless Matan Zalmanovitch to seal Ravid Gezel’s club’s fate.

    “It’s no secret that we haven’t won much lately and if you don’t win you can’t stay in the Premier League,” noted Kfar Saba coach Ravid Gezel. “I hope that we will all learn from our mistakes and that Kfar Saba which is a big enough club will be promoted back at the end of next season.”

    The team’s captain, Omer Fadida, also reflected on going down a league.

    “Unfortunately, this relegation is really tough and very sad. We began the season very well, but then we started to just drastically fall apart. This is very upsetting for me.”

    Meanwhile, Hapoel Hadera outlasted Bnei Yehuda 3-2 as three goals were scored in the final few minutes of the game, including a 93rd-minute own-goal to hand Hadera the victory and send Bnei Yehuda that much closer to relegation.

    Shoval Gozlan, who was celebrating his 27th birthday, gave Menachem Koretzky’s Hadera squad a 1-0 lead at the break, but Fatos Beciraj found the equalizer for Bnei Yehuda midway through the second half.

    Gustavo Marmentini found the back of the goal to put Hadera back in front, but once again Beciraj evened the score as the game hit injury time.

    Just as it looked as if the sides would split the points, an errant clearing attempt by Bnei Yehuda’s Amir Rustum ended up in his own net, handing Hadera the victory.

    “This was our fate as we made every possible defensive mistake in the book,” said a disappointed Bnei Yehuda coach Yossi Abukasis. “They only had three attempts on our goal and that explains it all. We were under pressure and we didn’t handle it.”

    Koretzky was thrilled with the victory, but felt his opponent’s pain.

    “I have been on the other side before and I know how painful it is,” said Koretzky. “We are very happy to win this game, but we will do so modestly because Bnei Yehuda still deserves our respect.”

    Also, Hapoel Haifa slipped by Bnei Sakhnin 1-0 on a 40th-minute penalty by Gal Arel as the Carmel Reds took the points, while Hapoel Tel Aviv hosted Beitar Jerusalem to a listless 0-0 draw.

    “The point earned was reflective of the game itself,” said Beitar’s interim coach Yossi Mizrachi. “Hapoel Tel Aviv didn’t create a chance and we hit the post a couple of times. Each team had their moments and we saw why we are in the relegation playoffs as each team has similar qualities. This was the first time I was satisfied with the squad as we were organized on the pitch.”

    Maccabi Petah Tikva and Ashdod SC also played to a goalless draw at the port city as the two sides split the points.

    “We just had a very physically and mentally draining week with league and cup play,” explained Ashdod coach Ran Ben Shimon. “We have a few days to rest and get ready to battle for a European qualifying spot which will go down to the wire. My players will continue to put it all out there and feel a sense of responsibility.”

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