Written by Dean Shmuel Elmas
The 2018/19 Israeli Handball League playoffs started on Friday without any surprises.
Maccabi Rishon LeZion that finished the regular season at the 1st place had a tough match with H.C Beer Sheba. The southern team led at the half-time break 12:13 but Saar Frenkel’s players used the team’s quality for a 26:24 win. Marko Matic led Maccabi with 6 goals.
The city’s rival and champions Hapoel Rishon LeZion stayed on the winning path with impressing 34:26 on Bnei Herzliya. The best player was the national middle back, Yuval Gerera, that in the current season is the best Israeli player.
Hapoel Ashdod that lost the 2nd place for Hapoel Rishon LeZion in the regular season’s last matchday beated Maccabi Kiryat Motzkin 32:26 with 42% efficiency by the Serbian goalkeeper, Tomislav Stojkovic.
Another team that had hard match was SGS Ramat Hasharon with H.C Ness Ziona. The score was equal thru all the 60 minutes. In the last seconds, Ramat Hasharon had a 28:27 lead, Ness Ziona took the last shot, but Adam Savic secured the score.
In the relegation playoffs: Hapoel Ramat Gan beated H.C Holon 29:27 and got very close for Hapoel Kiryat Ono that lost to Ironi Rehovot 32:21. In the next matchday on Monday: Hapoel Kiryat Ono – Hapoel Ramat Gan, Ironi Rehovot – H.C Holon.
Relegation Playoffs Table: 1. Ironi Rehovot – 19, 2. H.C Holon – 16, 3. Hapoel Kiryat Ono – 12, 4. Hapoel Ramat Gan – 11. The 1st place stay in the top level, 2nd and 3rd will play in knockout format playoffs matches with the 2nd and 3rd place in the second league, the 4th place will relegate directly.