Despite claiming just 11 points from a possible 21 over its past seven matches,
Maccabi Tel Aviv continues to hold on to first place in the Premier League
Last week’s 1-0 loss at Ashdod SC was Maccabi’s fifth defeat
of the season and the yellow-and-blue’s fourth straight road match without a
However, second-placed Hapoel Tel Aviv failed to take advantage,
losing 2-0 at home to Betar Jerusalem on Monday, remaining two points behind
Maccabi after winning just two of its past seven encounters.
put some pressure on its title rivals with a win over Hapoel Acre at Bloomfield
Stadium on Saturday, with Hapoel Tel Aviv only visiting Maccabi Haifa on
The yellow-and-blue has won eight of nine home encounters so far
this season, including its past four by a combined goal difference of
Acre is winless in its past 13 matches and dropped to the bottom of
the standings last week after drawing 4-4 with Maccabi Netanya.
erratic play has not gone ignored by its management, with the yellow-and-blue
bringing in four new players in the January transfer window.
Ignacio Fideleff was the last to sign, joining from Napoli of Italy’s Serie A on
a loan deal until the end of the 2013/14 campaign.
He followed in the
footsteps of Israeli-born Canadian goalkeeper Tomer Chencinski, striker Rade
Prica and the undoubted star of the transfer window, Israel international Eran
Zahavi, who arrived from Italy’s Palermo.
Zahavi, who signed a three-and-
a-half year deal after weeks of speculation, played a key role in Hapoel Tel
Aviv’s championship winning campaign in 2009/10.
The 25-year-old is best
remembered for scoring the stoppage-time goal which gave Hapoel a 2-1 victory
over Betar Jerusalem and clinched the league title for the Reds in the final
seconds of the campaign.
While Hapoel has failed to make the most of the
yellow-and- blue’s dip in form, Haifa’s 3- 0 win at Hapoel Ramat Gan on Sunday
was its eighth in its last nine matches, bringing it to within five points of
Haifa could drop to fourth place for at least 24 hours on
Saturday should Betar Jerusalem beat Bnei Yehuda at Teddy
Betar’s 2-0 win over Hapoel was its third in a row, with Eli
Cohen’s men unbeaten in their past eight games.
Also Saturday, Maccabi
Netanya hosts Hapoel Ramat Gan, Hapoel Ramat Hasharon visits Bnei Sakhnin and
Ironi Kiryat Shmona welcomes Ashdod SC.
Hapoel Beersheba hosts Hapoel
Haifa on Sunday in a repeat of Wednesday’s Toto Cup final, which was won by