Roni Levy’s second tenure as Beitar Jerusalem coach will begin with a daunting
visit to Bnei Sakhnin at Doha Stadium on Saturday night.
A journey up
north to play Sakhnin is regarded at Beitar as one of the season’s toughest
fixtures in the best of times, not to mention in the club’s current
After the firing of coach Eli Cohen, Beitar dropped to a 2-1
defeat to league-leader Maccabi Tel Aviv at Teddy Stadium on Sunday, extending
its losing streak to four matches, the team’s longest since May
Levy watched the match from the stands and was given a crash course
on the dire state of the squad he inherited.
Making matters even more
complicated is Beitar’s schedule, with Jerusalem to visit in-form Hapoel
Beersheba next week after taking on surprise- package Sakhnin.
against Sakhnin is especially important to both the players and the fans,” said
Levy, who also guided Beitar in the first half of 2011. “Sakhnin is recording
wonderful results, but in soccer everything is possible.”
team sits in third place in the standings after winning its past three matches.
Sakhnin has only lost twice this season, falling at the hands of the league’s
top two teams, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Beersheba.
“Even though this
is just another league match, we fully understand how important it is to our
fans,” said Sakhnin defender Ali Osman. “Both sets of supporters have hated each
other for many years, but we need to focus on the match. We know Beitar will be
nervous after losing its past four encounters, but we will play our usual game.
We want to make a statement with a win.”
For a third straight week,
Hapoel Beersheba will be aiming to leapfrog Maccabi Tel Aviv to the summit of
the standings, this time for at least 48 hours.
Beersheba can climb to
first place with a win over Hapoel Ra’anana at Vasermil Stadium, with Maccabi
not hosting Hapoel Tel Aviv in the derby until Monday night.
unbeaten in six matches, winning four of its past five contests, while Ra’anana
has lost two consecutive games after dropping just a single defeat in its first
10 matches of the campaign.
Also Saturday, Ashdod SC hosts Hapoel Acre,
Hapoel Haifa visits Maccabi Petah Tikva and Ironi Kiryat Shmona welcomes Bnei
On Monday, Maccabi Haifa hosts Hapoel Ramat Hasharon.