Hapoel Beersheba midfielder Maor Buzaglo.
(photo credit: ASAF KLIGER)
Hapoel Beersheba can close to within a single point of the Premier League summit with a victory at Maccabi Petah Tikva on Saturday evening.
Beersheba will be aiming to increase the pressure on league-leader Maccabi Tel Aviv, which doesn’t visit Hapoel Ra’anana until Sunday night.
Elisha Levy’s side has won six of its past seven matches, led by the in-form Maor Buzaglo. The 26-year-old midfielder, who returned to Israel in the summer after two frustrating years at Belgian club Standard Liege, has been unstoppable in recent weeks. Buzaglo took his tally for the season to eight goals after scoring twice in last week’s 4-0 victory at Hapoel Ramat Hasharon, while also improving his league-best assist total to 12.
Over his team’s past seven games, Buzaglo has netted four goals and registered six assists, meaning he was directly involved in 10 of Beersheba’s 15 goals during that stretch.
Buzaglo’s scintillating displays haven’t gone ignored by Israel national team coach Eli Gutman, who named the midfielder in his squad for next Wednesday’s international friendly against Slovakia in Netanya.
“It feels great to be once more given the chance to represent my country after the serious injury I overcame,” said Buzaglo, who suffered a broken ankle in his time in Liege and hasn’t played for the national team since October 2011. “Hapoel Beersheba deserves a lot of credit for my call up to the national team.”
Petah Tikva claimed a surprise 2-0 victory at Bnei Sakhnin last week for its first win in six matches to remain one point above the relegation zone.
Petah Tikva is just ahead of the resurgent Bnei Yehuda, which climbed off the foot of the table with a 1-0 win over Hapoel Acre last week, extending its unbeaten streak to six matches.
Bnei Yehuda hosts rock-bottom Ramat Hasharon in a crucial showdown in the battle against relegation on Saturday.
Also Saturday, Beitar Jerusalem welcomes Ashdod SC, Maccabi Haifa visits Hapoel Acre and Hapoel Tel Aviv faces Ironi Kiryat Shmona at Bloomfield Stadium.
Hapoel Haifa hosts Sakhnin on Monday.