Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC retained the Israeli championship after a 2-1 win at second-placed Hapoel Beer Sheva FC secured their 21st title.
Around 4,000 Maccabi fans drove south to see if their team could secure the point they needed to wrap things up with three games to spare. Eran Zahavi gave them something to cheer on 12 minutes and then converted a penalty to take his personal season's tally to 23 and ensure that Dovev Gabai's own spot-kick was only a consolation.
The last time Maccabi won two championships in a row was back in 1996. Since then the most decorated team in Israeli football had only added one more title, in 2002/03, before their triumph 12 months ago. Following that win under Óscar García, the coach left and sporting director Jordi Cruyff appointed Paulo Sousa to ensure the project under Canadian owner Mitchell Goldhar continued to bear fruit.
Maccabi enter the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round next season, hoping to match their 2004/05 group stage run, having made the UEFA Europa League round of 32 this term.
"I'm happy for the fans, for the owner, and I'm happy that we repaid them," said Cruyff. "It's not easy to win two straight championships. We are happy and proud. We are dreaming of the Champions League group stage."
Sosua added: "We worked and fought the whole year for this moment. We all want to be consistent in Europe too, not only for ourselves, but for Israeli football. Now it looks easy but it was a long season with many hard moments."
Goldhar said: "I'm very happy. I'm 11 on the happy meter. "[The two league titles] are different but equally satisfying. Now we want to go further and claim a place in the Champions League"
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|Last updated: 03/05/2014 23:26 CET|
|H. Beer Sheva||1-2||M. Tel-Aviv|
Gabbay 84 (P)
Zahavi 12, 31 (P)
|H. Haifa||0-2||H. Ra'anana|
Lipka 55, Benbenishti 76
Dayan 17 (P), 31, 48, Perez 42, Cohen 80
|Beitar Jerusalem||0-2||H. Akko|
Salihi 30 (P), Shabtai 84
|H. Ramat HaSharon||0-1||Bnei Yehuda|
|Venue: Tel Aviv|
|H. Kiryat Shmona||2-0||Bnei Sakhnin|
Kehat 36, Amasha 72
|Venue: Kiryat Shmona|
|M. Haifa||1-1||H. Tel-Aviv|
|1||Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC||33||77|
|2||Hapoel Beer Sheva FC||33||64|
|3||Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC||33||61|
|4||Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC||33||52|
|5||Maccabi Haifa FC||33||48|
|6||Bnei Sakhnin FC||33||47|
|7||Beitar Jerusalem FC||32||39|
|8||Hapoel Ra'anana FC||32||38|
|10||Hapoel Akko FC||32||36|
|11||Hapoel Haifa FC||32||34|
|12||Bnei Yehuda Tel-Aviv FC||32||30|
|13||Maccabi Petach-Tikva FC||32||30|
|14||Hapoel Ironi Nir Ramat HaSharon FC||32||30|