Hapoel Beersheba looks to succeed in the place where Maccabi Tel Aviv failed and increase the pressure on the league leader when it visits Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Saturday afternoon.

Beersheba closed back to within three points of the defending champion with Monday’s comprehensive 3-1 victory over Maccabi Haifa. It can move tied on points with the yellow-and-blue for at least four hours with a win at Kiryat Shmona on Saturday.

Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Hapoel Ramat Hasharon later Saturday night.

Kiryat Shmona stunned the yellowand- blue 3-1 two weeks ago, snapping its seven-match winning streak. The yellow- and-blue bounced back with a 2-0 triumph over Ashdod SC last week, but has been unable to shake Beersheba’s tail so far, with the Southerners extending their unbeaten streak to 12 matches with the victory over Haifa.

Beersheba has dropped to just a single defeat all season, but that came against Kiryat Shmona at Vasermil Stadium three months ago.

Elisha Levy’s team hasn’t lost since and has consistently impressed away from home this season, winning six and drawing two of its eight games on the road.

On the other hand, Kiryat Shmona is unbeaten in nine home contests this term, winning five games – including its past three – and drawing four encounters.

Also Saturday, Maccabi Haifa will look to return to winning ways when it hosts Maccabi Petah Tikva. The Greens lost for the seventh time in their last 18 games at Beersheba, but remain just three points and three places behind Bnei Sakhnin, which currently occupies the all-important third position, which comes with Europa League qualification.

Sakhnin has picked up just one point from its past three matches and will be aiming to rebound when it visits Ashdod, which is unbeaten in nine home games.

Elsewhere, Bnei Yehuda hosts Hapoel Haifa and Hapoel Ra’anana visits Hapoel Acre.

Hapoel Tel Aviv welcomes Beitar Jerusalem at the Netanya Stadium on Sunday. Hapoel was punished to play the match away from Bloomfield Stadium due to its fans’ unruly behavior in the recent Tel Aviv derby.



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