Hapoel Beersheba won the bidding war for the services of Israel national team striker Ben Sahar.
(photo credit: ERAN LUF)
Beitar Jerusalem hosts its first European competition match in seven years on Thursday night and is confident it won’t be its last of the season. After drawing 0-0 with Ordabasy Shymkent in Kazakhstan in the first leg of the Europa League first qualifying round last week, Jerusalem knows a win by any scoreline will secure its progress at Teddy Stadium.
Beitar didn’t impress in its first match of the 2015/16 campaign last Thursday, which came less than five weeks after its final match of 2014/15. However, the goalless deadlock put it in a promising position ahead of the return leg, with Belgian outfit Charleroi awaiting the winner in the second qualifying round.
Hapoel Beersheba will begin its participation in the Europa League in the second qualifying round where it will face Thun of Switzerland.
Ironi Kiryat Shmona will enter the competition in the third qualifying round.
Beersheba announced the signing of Israel national team striker Ben Sahar on Wednesday, with the 25-year-old joining on a three-year deal.
Since moving to Chelsea as a 17-year-old, Sahar has played for 11 different clubs in England, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Israel. He scored seven goals in 33 appearances for Willem II in the top Dutch division last season. Sahar, who has made 33 appearances for the Israel national team, has played just one season in Israel, scoring 16 league goals for Hapoel Tel Aviv in 2010/11.
“I’m very excited to be joining Beersheba and can’t wait for my first training session,” said Sahar. “I had several offers from Israel and Europe but I think that Hapoel Beersheba is the best place for me at the moment. I have heard a lot of good things about the club and I hope that we can achieve our goals.”
Beersheba has been Maccabi Tel Aviv’s main challenger for the Premier League title over the past two seasons and will hope the addition of Sahar, that followed the signings of Anthony Nwakaeme, Matan Ohayon and Shir Tzedek, can help the team claim its first championship since 1976.
Meanwhile, Maccabi Tel Aviv returned to Israel on Wednesday from its training camp in Austria as it continues its preparations for the start of its Champions League qualifying campaign against Hibernians of Malta. The yellow-and-blue visits Hibernians in the first leg of the second qualifying round on July 14 before hosting the return leg at Bloomfield Stadium a week later.
“I am very satisfied with the last 10 days,” said Maccabi’s new Serbian coach Slavisa Jokanovic after the yellow-and-blue drew 1-1 with Russian side FK Anzhi Makhachkala in its final preseason match.
“We worked on very important things. I’m sure we will be prepared and fresh for the upcoming match next week in Malta.”