HAPOEL BEERSHEBA midfielder Siraj Nasar 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Beersheba can climb back up to first place, at least for 48 hours, with a home win over Maccabi Petah Tikva at Vasermil Stadium on Saturday.
After impressively handing reigning-champion Maccabi Tel Aviv its only defeat of the season and outclassing Bnei Sakhnin, Beersheba disappointingly slipped up against rock-bottom Hapoel Ramat Hasharon on Monday, only managing a 0-0 draw.
However, Elisha Levy’s team has been gifted an ideal opportunity to get back on track with the struggling Petah Tikva coming to town on Saturday.
Petah Tikva will be guided for the first time by Yitav Luzon, the son of Israel Football Association chairman Avi Luzon, who was named earlier this week as Moshe Sinai’s replacement.
“I wouldn’t say that we were complacent against Ramat Hasharon,” said Beersheba midfielder Maor Buzaglo.
“The most important thing is to take the positives from the match and move on.
“We need to collect points in order to be at the top and we are not looking at Maccabi Tel Aviv at the moment. It is difficult to remain at the top, but that will be our test.”
League-leader Maccabi Tel Aviv, which holds a two-point gap over Beersheba, doesn’t host Hapoel Ra’anana until Monday.
Hapoel Tel Aviv will be entering Saturday’s visit of Ironi Kiryat Shmona in a somber mood due to its dejecting campaign and the passing of its most famous fan, legendary singer Arik Einstein, on Tuesday.
Hapoel suffered an emphatic 4-2 defeat to Maccabi Haifa at Bloomfield Stadium on Sunday and finds itself with just 15 points from 10 matches, eight points behind leader Maccabi Tel Aviv.
A round of applause in honor of Einstein will be held ahead of Hapoel’s match, as well as all other Premier League and National League games over the weekend.
Kiryat Shmona moved tied on points with Hapoel with last week’s 4-1 thrashing of Beitar Jerusalem at Teddy Stadium.
After losing two consecutive matches, Beitar visits Ashdod SC on Saturday. Beitar owner Eli Tabib called on fans to rally behind coach Eli Cohen and the players earlier this week after the team was booed at Teddy last weekend.
Also on Saturday, Bnei Sakhnin hosts Hapoel Haifa and Bnei Yehuda visits Ramat Hasharon.
On Monday, Maccabi Haifa welcomes Hapoel Acre.