Maccabi Haifa’s start to the season went from bad to worse on Saturday, with the
Greens dropping to a 1-0 home defeat to Ashdod SC at Kiryat Eliezer
Haifa was regarded as one of the title favorites just a few
weeks ago, but it has only picked up a single point from its four matches so
far, marking its worse start to a league campaign in 44 years.
managed to finish that season in fifth place, but Reuven Atar’s men began
2012/13 with much higher expectations and already find themselves 11 points
behind league-leader Ashdod, which made it four wins out of four with Saturday’s
Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Tel Aviv can also move 11 points
clear of what was supposed to be their main rival for the
Hapoel visits Hapoel Ramat Hasharon on Sunday, while
Maccabi Tel Aviv hosts Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Monday, with the northerners
brimming with confidence after claiming a 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao in their
Europa League Group I opener on Thursday.
David Revivo scored the only
goal of the match in Haifa after his long-distance strike, just one of two shots
the visitors registered on target, took a deflection off Dekel Keinan, leaving
goalkeeper Amir Edri helpless and giving Ashdod its first win over Maccabi in
Kiryat Eliezer since 1994.
“I never believed we would begin the season
like this,” said Atar, who arrived at Haifa amidst much hype, but has seen his
tenure get off to a nightmare start.
“We played superbly in our first
matches, but lost. Now we are also playing without confidence. This is very
I can only apologize.”
Haifa is one of five teams
still without a win four matches into the season.
disappointing start to the campaign continued on Saturday with a 1-0 defeat to
Hapoel Acre at Teddy Stadium, with Amaya Taga heading in the winner in the 67th
Bnei Sakhnin begins another week rock bottom of the standings
after a 3-1 home loss to Hapoel Ramat Gan.
Oz Yifrah (6), David Manga
(36) and Israel Zaguri (86) scored for Ramat Gan, with Obayda Zbidat (90)
netting a meaningless consolation goal for Sakhnin, which has already conceded
11 goals this season.
Maccabi Netanya claimed its second straight win on
Saturday, beating Hapoel Beersheba 2-1 to hand the southerners their first loss
of the campaign.
Beersheba’s Nicolas Falczuk (20) canceled out Idan
Shriki’s opener (16), but Yossi Shivhon scored the winner in the 26th minute
after some excellent build up play by Ahmed Saba.
Also Saturday, Bnei
Yehuda got back to winning ways, defeating Hapoel Haifa 3-1 at Bloomfield
Shalev Menashe (3), Kestutis Ivaskevicius (68) and Nenad
Marinkovic (88) scored for Bnei Yehuda, with Vladimir Gluscevic (17) netting for
the sorry Haifa.