Beitar Jerusalem targets 1st place in Ashkelon

Beitar Jerusalem visits Hapoel Ashkelon four-and-a-half hours after Haifa’s match takes place and will move up to first for at least 24 hours with a win against former coach Yuval Naim.

By
February 8, 2018 23:58
1 minute read.
Beitar Jerusalem striker Itay Shechter.

The form of Beitar Jerusalem striker Itay Shechter (above) has been one of the main reasons behind the team’s impressive run. Beitar can climb up to first place with a win at Hapoel Ashkelon on Saturday.. (photo credit: DANNY MARON)

With just three points separating the top four teams in the Premier League standings and Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Beersheba, Beitar Jeruslaem and Hapoel Haifa all playing in different times or different days, there could be several changes at the summit over the next few days.

Hapoel Haifa enters the weekend in fourth place, but will go top should it defeat Hapoel Ra’anana by five goals on Saturday afternoon.

Haifa has 42 points, with Beitar in third place with 43 points, Beersheba in second with 44 and Maccabi in first with 45.

Haifa, which is targeting its third straight win and would be happy just moving tied on points with the yellowand- blue in first, may not spend long at the summit even should it overcome the struggling Ra’anana by five goals.

Beitar Jerusalem visits Hapoel Ashkelon four-and-a-half hours after Haifa’s match takes place and will move up to first for at least 24 hours with a win against former coach Yuval Naim.

Maccabi Tel Aviv goes to rock-bottom Hapoel Acre on Sunday, with Beersheba hosting Ashdod SC on Monday.

Beitar will be looking to ride its recent momentum, beating Maccabi Haifa 3-1 last Saturday before defeating Hapoel Kfar Saba of the National League 2-0 in the first leg of the State Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday.

Ashkelon has won just one of its past 16 games, losing four in a row and six of its past seven contests. Nevertheless, Beitar coach Benny Ben-Zaken insisted he is expecting a tough match on the road.

“It is never easy to play in Ashkelon,” said Ben-Zaken, with Ashkelon drawing 2-2 at home with Maccabi Tel Aviv and only losing to Beersheba following a 90th-minute goal. “Every team that has played there has struggled. But we are focusing on ourselves and not on the state of our opponent.”

Elsewhere, Bnei Yehuda hosts Maccabi Petah Tikva in a direct showdown for sixth place and the final ticket for the championship playoffs.

Bnei Yehuda enters the match in sixth position and with a six-point gap over Petah Tikva. Also Saturday, Maccabi Haifa welcomes Ironi Kiryat Shmona. On Sunday, Maccabi Netanya hosts Bnei Sakhnin.


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