Ironi Kiryat Shmona coach Barak Bachar.
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Beitar Jerusalem coach Menahem Koretzki breathed a huge sigh of relief on Thursday night after his team snapped a three-match losing streak with a 3-1 win over Hapoel Petah Tikva at Teddy Stadium.
Beitar had gone unbeaten in its first seven matches of the campaign, defeating Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Tel Aviv while drawing with title hopefuls Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Hapoel Beersheba.
However, loses to Bnei Sakhnin, Hapoel Haifa and Maccabi Petah Tikva meant Beitar was under pressure entering Thursday’s contest against rock-bottom Hapoel Petah Tikva.
Jerusalem was far from impressive once more, but picked up a significant win thanks to goals from Claudemir (6), Shlomi Azulay (35) and Zarko Korac (76), with Mirko Oremus’s (36) strike of little consolation for Petah Tikva.
“We were very nervous after failing to win for such a long time so it was very important that we got this victory,” said Koretzki, whose team scored more than two goals for the first time this season. “I think one more win will help the team settle down and display better form.”
Also Thursday, Maccabi Petah Tikva and Ashdod SC drew 1-1. David Solari gave Ashdod the lead after less than three minutes, with Daniel Dimov equalizing for the hosts in the 16th minute.
After stringing together its first winning streak of the season, Maccabi Haifa can well and truly reignite its Premier League campaign when it hosts league-leader Ironi Kiryat Shmona at Sammy Ofer Stadium on Saturday.
Despite already losing six matches this season, Haifa is in fifth place in the standings thanks to Wednesday’s 4-0 win over Maccabi Netanya which came on the back of a 3-1 victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv.
The Greens can close to within a bridgeable seven points of Kiryat Shmona with another triumph on Saturday.
Kiryat Shmona is still undefeated this season after drawing 1-1 with Hapoel Beersheba on Tuesday. Beersheba remained just three points back of the summit following the deadlock and will be confident of returning to winning ways when it hosts Hapoel Haifa on Saturday.
Beersheba has won four straight games at Vasermil Stadium since drawing its home opener against Beitar Jerusalem.
Also Saturday, Hapoel Acre welcomes Maccabi Netanya while Bnei Sakhnin visits Hapoel Ra’anana. Netanya is in dire straits both on and off the field. The team has lost each of its past two games by a 4-0 score-line, while owner Eli Segev, who is on his way out of the club, has sold his home to help pay the players, who haven’t received a salary in two months.
Hapoel Tel Aviv goes to Ashdod on Sunday, with Maccabi Tel Aviv hosting Beitar at Sammy Ofer on Monday. Also Monday, Maccabi Petah Tikva faces Hapoel Petah Tikva in the derby.