Luzon leaves Hap Tel Aviv with a whimper

Last-place Reds fall in Kiryat Shmona • Leader Beersheba hosts Bnei Yehuda minus Buzaglo

By
January 13, 2017 01:08
2 minute read.
Hapoel Tel Aviv players Ben Reichert (left) and Or Ostvind prepare to renew the game with Ironi Kiry

Hapoel Tel Aviv players Ben Reichert (left) and Or Ostvind prepare to renew the game with Ironi Kiryat Shmona players celebrating in the background after taking a 2-0 lead in last night’s eventual 2-1 win in Premier League action.. (photo credit: ERAN LUF)

 
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Tel Aviv ended in yet another defeat on Thursday night, a 2-1 loss at Ironi Kiryat Shmona.

Luzon, who only joined the team in September to replace Eli Gutman, resigned on Wednesday due to the dramatic changes the squad is undergoing under the new ownership group led by the Nisanov brothers.

Luzon was forced to start with five players from the youth department on Thursday as the new owners are still struggling to assemble a squad, insisting that the club’s new budget doesn’t allow them to pick up the contracts of many of the players brought to the team by previous owner Amir Kabiri.

Luzon leaves Hapoel with the team in last place in the standings, seven points from safety. Hapoel was deducted nine points for entering a stay of legal proceedings last month due to debts estimated at over NIS 100 million.

“I said from the start that I will stay as long as there is a good base here, but I will not continue if we have to play with youth players,” said Luzon. “I really hope that the team will manage to remain in the Premier League.”

Ofir Kriaf (14) and Ahmed Abed (24) scored for Kiryat Shmona, with Aaron Schoenfeld’s strike in the 74th minute proving to be too little and too late for Hapoel.

Menahem Koretzki is set to replace Luzon and guide the team in Monday’s derby against Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Premier League action continues on Saturday, with Hapoel Beersheba aiming to put off-field distractions aside and reestablish a double-digit margin at the top when it hosts Bnei Yehuda.

Beersheba snapped a three-match winless streak in the league, its longest since the end of the 2014/15 campaign, with a 2-0 victory over Maccabi Haifa on Tuesday.


Maccabi Tel Aviv’s victory a day later kept Beersheba’s lead at the top at eight points, but the reigning champion is still a massive favorite to retain its title, even should star midfielder Maor Buzaglo never play for the team again.

Buzaglo will miss Saturday’s match after being suspended until he faces further disciplinary action on Sunday following his attack against the club on social media on Thursday.

Buzaglo vented his frustration after coming on as a late substitute in the win over Haifa.

“I have no problem sitting on the bench if I’m not good enough and when the decision is a professional one,” wrote Buzaglo, who claimed he hasn’t been offered a contract extension at the club. “I have big aspirations and want to take care of my future and all along I’m giving my all to this precious club. I don’t think I deserve this and it hurts.”

It wasn’t the first time Buzaglo, whose contract at the club ends following this season, has spoken out against Beersheba.

However, unlike previous occasions, the club chose to respond on Thursday, with owner Alona Barkat releasing a statement contradicting Buzaglo’s claims.

“We love and appreciate Maor, and we offered him a new contract several times.

That is the simple truth,” wrote Barkat. “As important and as loved as he is, Hapoel Beersheba will not remain silent regarding public accusations made by a player against the coach and his professional decisions. He crossed a red line.”

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