Maor Buzaglo 311.
(photo credit: Maccabi Tel Aviv website)
Any other coach would have already been long gone.
But Uri Malmilian
isn’t any other coach.
Malmilian has guided Betar Jerusalem to just one
win and five points from its first eight Premier League matches, but his
eminence as a true Betar icon and one of the greatest players in Israeli history
has kept him at the helm of the club from the capital for the time
However, should Betar fail to take all three points against Hapoel
Petah Tikva at Teddy Stadium on Saturday night, even Malmilian’s legendary
status may not be enough to keep him around for another week.
than 15 years of coaching, Malmilian finally got his chance at a big club this
summer, but even in his worst nightmares he would have not envisioned such a
horrendous start to the season.
Being a coach who prides himself on the
fact that he has never been fired and is always willing to offer his resignation
if his team is underperforming, the thought of leaving must have surely crossed
However, he also knows that a single victory is all
that is needed for Betar to get its league campaign back on track, and there is
no better place to start than with a home match against Hapoel Petah
Petah Tikva has shown some improvement in the last couple of weeks
under the guidance of new coach Yuval Naim, but it is still one of only two
winless teams in the league and has lost three of its last four
The one thing that might play to Petah Tikva’s advantage is
the fact that Saturday’s match at Teddy will be played in front of empty stands
due to unruliness on the part of the Betar fans in the club’s game against Bnei
Yehuda at Bloomfield Stadium two weeks ago.
At the other end of the
standings, Maccabi Tel Aviv has triumphed just once in its last three games
after winning four straight matches, recording a disappointing 0-0 draw at
Hapoel Haifa on Monday.
Maccabi hosts newly promoted Hapoel Ashkelon at
Bloomfield Stadium on Saturday, but manager Avi Nimni has warned his players not
to underestimate their opponents.
“On paper all our matches should be
comfortable,” he said. “But teams give an extra something when they face us and
we prepare ourselves for that fact that every match will be
“We may have more quality than most of the teams in the
league, but that doesn’t guarantee us victories. Ashkelon has done well so far
this season and we take every opponent seriously.”
Ashkelon suffered only
its second loss of the season last week, seeing its fivematch unbeaten run come
to an end with a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Maccabi Netanya.
is the clear favorite and will be especially dangerous as it has its back
against the wall after its draw in Haifa,” Ashkelon coach Guy Azuri said. “A
draw would be a good result for us.”
After winning five of its first six
matches, Ironi Kiryat Shmona has stuttered in the past two weeks, drawing with
Ashkelon before suffering its first defeat of the season last week, falling 3- 0
at Hapoel Acre.
Kiryat Shmona hosts Bnei Yehuda on Saturday, with Dror
Kashtan’s team winning two of its last three encounters.
Maccabi Petah Tikva hosts Hapoel Haifa, Ashdod SC visits Bnei Sakhnin and Hapoel
Beersheba welcomes Hapoel Ramat Gan.
Netanya hosts Hapoel Acre on Sunday,
with Hapoel Tel Aviv visiting Maccabi Haifa at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium in a
mouthwatering encounter on Monday night.