Hapoel Rishon LeZion

Hapoel Rishon LeZion

Hapoel Rishon LeZion F.C. (Hebrew: הפועל ראשון לציון‎) is an Israeli football club based in the city of Rishon LeZion, which currently plays in Liga Leumit, Israel's second football division. Home matches are hosted at the Haberfeld Stadium. In 1991, the club changed its name to Hapoel Ironi Rishon LeZion (Hebrew: הפועל עירוני ראשון לציון‎), and in June 2008 the name was switched back to Hapoel Rishon LeZion following a change in ownership. Hapoel Rishon LeZion was one of the first clubs in the history of league football in Israel. The football section of the Sports club was established in 1929, and played several matches since 1933, including competing at the Palestine Cup in 1937 and 1939. The club was formally established in 1940. Its best achievements were runner-up of the Israel State Cup in 1946 and 1996. On both occasions it lost to Maccabi Tel Aviv. Following its cup final in 1996, it played in UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, but was eliminated in the qualifying round by Constructorul Chisinau of Moldova on away goals rule (0:1, 3:2). The club played at the top division in Mandatory Palestine for the first time at the 1941–42 season and after the Israeli Declaration of Independence, became founder members of the Israeli League in 1949. In 1951–52, the club finished second bottom and dropped to the second tier. Between 1952 and 1994 the club played just three seasons in the top division: 1978-79, 1980–81 (where they finished sixth) and 1981–82. In the 1991–92 season, while playing in Liga Alef, the third tier, it added the word Ironi to its name, and in the next two seasons, made two successive promotions and returned to the top flight once again after winning Liga Artzit in the 1993–94 season. This time the club managed to stay nine consecutive seasons in the top league until it was relegated to the second tier, (Liga Leumit), at the end of the 2002–03 season, and three seasons later dropped further down to Liga Artzit, the third tier at the time. In 2008–09, after the club changed its name back to Hapoel Rishon LeZion, it was promoted to Liga Leumit, the second tier. In 2010–11, the club was promoted to the Israeli Premier League, the top tier. They were relegated back to Liga Leumit the following season. On 4 December 2012, Hapoel Rishon LeZion won the 2012–13 Toto Cup Leumit. In 2017-18, the club was just one point short of being promoted to the top tier, The Israeli Premier League, finishing third. In the following year, 2018-19, the club finished twelfth, and narrowly avoided relegation.

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