Hapoel Beersheba midfielder Maor Melikson’s return to form is a welcome boost for the reigning champion, which visits Ashdod SC in Premier League action on Saturday. .
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Beersheba is in danger of going three months without a Premier League road win when it visits Ashdod SC on Saturday night.
The reigning champion has seen a 10-point gap at the top of the standings slashed to a mere three points by Maccabi Tel Aviv, largely due to its struggles away from Turner Stadium.
Beersheba has won 11 of 12 home games to date, picking up 34 of a possible 36 points. However, it has gone five away matches without a win since defeating Beitar Jerusalem back in December.
Maccabi Tel Aviv doesn’t visit Hapoel Ashkelon until Sunday, allowing Beersheba to put some pressure on the yellow-and-blue by increasing the gap to six points for at least 24 hours.
Ashdod has lost just one of its past 10 home games and Beersheba coach Barak Bachar is expecting a tough affair.
“Ashdod is a very strong home team and we are facing a challenging match,” said Bachar. “Five consecutive road games without a win is too much for a team like Beersheba.”
Elsewhere Saturday, Hapoel Ra’anana hosts Bnei Sakhnin, Ironi Kiryat Shmona visits Hapoel Haifa and Hapoel Tel Aviv welcomes Bnei Yehuda.
Bnei Yehuda’s hopes of reaching the State Cup final for the first time since 2010 were handed a boost on Thursday when it was drawn to face Hapoel Ramat Gan of the National League in the semifinals. The other semi will see Maccabi Tel Aviv play Beitar Jerusalem in a blockbuster showdown. The semifinals will be played at Haifa Stadium on April 4/5.
“People are saying that we received a tough draw, but I’m certain that Maccabi doesn’t think that facing Beitar is a comfortable draw,” said Jerusalem coach Sharon Mimer.
Beitar will next be in Premier League action on Monday when it hosts Maccabi Haifa. Maccabi Petah Tikva visits Hapoel Kfar Saba on Sunday.