(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
In its wildest dreams Ashdod SC never imagined that it would be entering
Saturday’s Premier League showdown with Maccabi Tel Aviv in sole possession of
first place with a perfect 15 points, three above the
Prior to this season, Ashdod had never even won three
straight matches to start a campaign, but it made it five wins out of five last
Saturday with a convincing 3- 0 home victory over Maccabi Netanya.
Mizrahi’s team’s carefree style of play has seen Ashdod amass a combined goal
difference of 11-2, with the side also showing that it can play on the back foot
in the 1-0 victory over Maccabi Haifa at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.
will likely adopt a similar tactic at Bloomfield Stadium on Saturday, with
Maccabi desperate for a statement win after dropping its first points of the
season following a 3-1 defeat at Hapoel Beersheba on Monday.
began last season with four consecutive victories under the guidance of Moti
Ivanir, before suffering a defeat to Hapoel Ramat Hasharon in its fifth match
and eventually seeing its campaign disintegrate to such an extent that it
resulted in the coach being sacked in December.
Despite the early
similarities, Maccabi’s sports director Jordi Cruyff was confident on Thursday
that this season will unfold in a completely different manner.
of points and wins we are reasonably on course,” Cruyff said.
months it is difficult to change everything. Everything has its
“Losing is part of football,” he added.
"I don’t know how
it was in the past and how it works in this country, but in Europe you don’t
panic after one loss.
“Last season Maccabi ended up reasonably far away
from the top positions so our road is not an easy one and we need
Mizrahi, who worked for six months as Maccabi Tel Aviv’s coach but
left following the sacking of manager Avi Nimni in January 2011, isn’t getting
carried away by Ashdod’s triumphs just yet.
“We can’t ignore the success,
but this is only the beginning of the season and we need to wait and see what
team we become,” he said. “We still have a lot of room for improvement because
this is a completely new team, especially in attack.”
While the top two
battle for first place at Bloomfield on Saturday, Maccabi Haifa continues its
agonizing quest for its first win of the season.
Haifa has collected just
two points from a possible 15, marking its worst ever start to a Premier League
campaign. Coach Reuven Atar’s job seems to be safe for the moment, but failure
to defeat newlypromoted Hapoel Ramat Gan at Kiryat Eliezer on Saturday could
Also Saturday, Maccabi Netanya hosts Hapoel Acre, Bnei
Yehuda visits Bnei Sakhnin and Ramat Hasharon welcomes Hapoel
Betar Jerusalem’s match against Hapoel Tel Aviv and Ironi Kiryat
Shmona’s encounter with Hapoel Beersheba were postponed to October 29 due to Tel
Aviv’s and Kiryat Shmona’s participation in the Europa League.