Maccabi Haifa coach Aliksandar Stanojevic .
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Haifa coach Aleksandar Stanojevic revealed he is considering resigning after his team’s free-fall continued on Saturday night with a 1-0 defeat at Maccabi Petah Tikva.
The Greens, who were tipped to be Maccabi Tel Aviv’s main challenger for the Premier League title this season, suffered their fourth straight loss and fifth defeat in seven matches. Haifa dropped to 12th position in the table with a mere six points, just a single point and one place above the relegation zone.
Joachim Mununga scored the only goal of the match in the 51st minute and the hapless Haifa couldn’t muster a response, failing to find the back of the net for a third consecutive match.
A despondent Stanojevic was lost for words after another depressing display by his side.
“We are very disappointed,” he said.
“Definitely we have a big problem. We disappointed the fans again and we must do something. In the last game we had chances, but today we didn’t even have chances.
This is a big problem for us. We must change something. I tried making changes but it was not successful.”
Stanojevic admitted he had already thought about quitting following last weekend’s loss to Hapoel Ra’anana, which preceded the defeats to Hapoel Beersheba and Maccabi Petah Tikva.
“Of course we will do what is best for Maccabi Haifa,” he said.
“[Resigning] is one of the things I thought about last week. If I thought about it last week than of course I am thinking about it this week. Now it is difficult to speak about it, but we will see.”
Captain Yossi Benayoun returned from injury after coming on as a substitute in the 54th minute, but he couldn’t save his team and re-injured his knee.
Haifa’s players remained on the field long after the final whistle to thank the fans for their support, throwing their shirts into the stands in what seemed like an impromptu apology for yet another defeat.
Haifa owner Jacob Shachar released a statement through the club’s official website after the match, complimenting the fans for their support and asking them to ignore the speculation regarding Stanojevic’s future.
“The loss to Maccabi Petah Tikva was another match which caused me to feel ashamed,” he wrote. “Changes will be made to the team and together we will get it back on track.”
Meanwhile, Hapoel Beersheba failed to move up to first place on Saturday, drawing 1-1 at Hapoel Acre. Beersheba dropped two more important points, remaining undefeated this season but recording its third draw in seven matches. Acre took the lead through Amir Abu-Nil in the 61st minute. But Beersheba was awarded a penalty for a fourth straight match and Maor Buzaglo converted from the spot to level the score in the 73rd minute.
“We want to win every match and that means we are disappointed with this result, even though a draw was a fair result,” said Beersheba coach Elisha Levy.
Bnei Sakhnin finally recorded its first win of the season on Saturday, beating Hapoel Haifa 3-0 on the road. After conceding late equalizers time and again, Sakhnin took no chances at the Sammy Ofer Stadium, with Mohammad Ghadir netting a brace (47, 58) and Ali Osman (63) capping the triumph with an accurate free-kick from 20 meters out.
Hapoel Ra’anana continued its erratic ways on Saturday, defeating Ashdod SC 2-1. Ra’anana has yet to win consecutive matches this season, but it climbed up to fifth place thanks to Evans Kangwa’s winner in the 86th minute. The Zambian also netted Ra’anana’s opener (69), which was canceled out by Alexander Davidov’s thunderous strike (75).
On Sunday, Maccabi Netanya welcomes Hapoel Petah Tikva. First-place Kiryat Shmona hosts Beitar Jerusalem on Monday night, when Hapoel and Maccabi Tel Aviv also face-off in the derby.