Matters went from bad to worse for Beitar Jerusalem on Sunday night with a dejecting 1-0 defeat to Hapoel Ramat Hasharon at Teddy Stadium.
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Hasan Sayaf scored the only goal of the match in the 73rd minute to lift Ramat Hasharon out of the relegation zone, despite the distraction caused over the weekend by the release of defender Meir Gabai after he was accused by the club of illegal betting.
Beitar coach Roni Levy handed new recruits Jonathan Vila, Moshe Lugasi and Shlomi Azulai their debuts on Sunday, but they didn’t impress and Jerusalem finds itself just five points above the bottom two, failing to win for the ninth time in its past 10 matches.
On Monday, Hapoel Beersheba will look to close back to within three points of league-league Maccabi Tel Aviv when it hosts Maccabi Haifa in an intriguing showdown at Vasermil Stadium.
Haifa hasn’t lost in Vasermil in 11 years, but it hasn’t entered a match against Beersheba as an underdog in even longer, with the Greens currently trailing the southerners by 11 points.
Beersheba scored in the 90th minute and in injury time to overcome Bnei Yehuda 2-1 last week to extend its unbeaten streak to 11 league matches, but it has won just two of its past five home games.
Haifa has won only two of its last five matches, but could climb up to third place with a victory on Monday.
“I don’t think you can say Beersheba is the favorite,” claimed Beersheba coach Elisha Levy, who guided Haifa between 2008 and 2012, winning two championships with the Greens. “We must respect Haifa, but on the other hand, we are a strong team and it will be a tight showdown.”