Surging Sakhnin looks to continue climbing

January 3, 2014 02:28

Bnei Sakhnin continues to fly under the radar, cementing its place in the Premier League top three with five wins from its past six matches.

2 minute read.

Bnei Sakhnin players in red.

Bnei Sakhnin 311. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)

While Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Beersheba have been making all the headlines, Bnei Sakhnin continues to fly under the radar, cementing its place in the Premier League top three with five wins from its past six matches.

After going unbeaten in its first six league games, Sakhnin looked to have lost its way, claiming just a single point from its following three matches, conceding four goals in defeats to both Maccabi Tel Aviv and Beersheba.

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However, since its 4-0 home loss to Beersheba almost two months ago, Sakhnin has picked up 16 out of a possible 18 points, conceding just a single goal in that stretch.

Sakhnin is still nine points off the summit and five points behind Beersheba, but holds a four-point cushion on Ironi Kiryat Shmona in fourth place.

After outclassing Hapoel Tel Aviv 4-0, Sakhnin kept its fifth straight clean sheet when it beat Hapoel Acre 2-0 on the road last week and will be confident of extending its streak when it hosts rock-bottom Bnei Yehuda on Saturday.

The signing of coach Marco Balbul in the off season and the addition of players like Mohammad Ghadir, Firas Mugrabi and Spaniards Abraham Paz and Cristian Hidalgo have proven to be strokes of genius, giving Sakhnin a solid foundation that seems to grow stronger with every week.

Bnei Yehuda, on the other hand, has looked helpless since the start of the campaign, picking up just five points from its 15 matches so far.

Last week’s 2-0 defeat to league-leader Maccabi Tel Aviv, in what was coach Yossi Abuksis’ first match at the helm, was the team’s sixth straight loss and 12th in its past 14 matches.

After extending its unbeaten streak to nine games and winning for the sixth time in its past eight contests by beating Hapoel Tel Aviv 3-1 on Monday, Beersheba can finally see the peak again.

It will close to within a single point of Maccabi Tel Aviv with a victory over Hapoel Acre on Saturday.

The yellow-and-blue doesn’t host Maccabi Haifa at Bloomfield Stadium until Monday night.

Hapoel Tel Aviv will have an ideal opportunity to finally return to winning ways after losing its past three matches when it visits the lowly Maccabi Petah Tikva on Saturday.

Hapoel has claimed just a single victory in its last seven encounters and finds itself in seventh place with just 19 points from 15 matches.

Also Saturday, Ashdod SC hosts Kiryat Shmona and Hapoel Ramat Hasharon visits Hapoel Ra’anana.

On Sunday, Hapoel Haifa welcomes Beitar Jerusalem.

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