(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Despite Maccabi Tel Aviv’s outstanding start to the season, yellow-and-blue
coach Moti Ivanir insisted on Sunday that his team will not be the favorite in
Monday night’s mouthwatering top-shelf showdown against Maccabi Haifa.
Aviv enters the match top of the standings, holding a five-point lead over the
reigning-champion, which is in sixth position.
However, even though it
can open an eight-point cushion over the Greens with a win at Bloomfield
Stadium, Ivanir doesn’t believe Haifa’s hopes of defending its league title
depend on Monday’s result.
“I really don’t think that Haifa is scared of
us ahead of this match,” Ivanir said on Sunday. “We don’t see ourselves as the
favorites. Haifa is the champion and played very well in the Europa League
defeat at Schalke. We have already proven our worth this season so I don’t think
this match is in anyway a test of our abilities.
“However, it does give
us a chance to send out a message and if we can play as well as we have done
this season that will certainly mean something.”
After missing the match
in Schalke, Yaniv Katan is expected to return to the starting lineup at
Bloomfield, with Haifa coach Elisha Levy knowing that three points on Monday
will all but erase his side’s erratic start to the campaign.
Aviv is a very strong team, but if we win we will be back in contention once
more,” Levy told his players.
Also Monday, Hapoel Tel Aviv visits Maccabi
On Sunday, Bnei Sakhnin maintained its prefect home record with
a 3-0 victory over Maccabi Petah Tikva at the Doha Stadium.
Hazurov (36), Pieter Mbemba (63) and Ahmed Kasoum (90) scored for Sakhnin, which
climbed to fourth place in the standings with its fourth win in four matches at
home.On TV: Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Maccabi Haifa (live on Channel 1 at 8:50 p.m.)