(photo credit: Uzi Gal)
Beitar Jerusalem’s hopes of qualifying for the Premier League championship
playoffs suffered a significant blow on Sunday night following a 3-0 thrashing
at the hands of Hapoel Haifa at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.
Beitar climbed up
to fourth place in the standings four weeks ago with a 2-0 win at Hapoel Tel
Aviv, extending its unbeaten streak to eight matches.
off-field distractions that accompanied the signing of Chechen Muslims Dzhabrail
Kadiyev and Zaur Sadayev days after the victory over Hapoel have completely
derailed the team, with Beitar winless in its four matches since owner Arkadi
Gaydamak made the announcement, losing three times.
Haifa may have
entered the encounter bottom of the standings, but it easily outplayed
Jerusalem, comfortably claiming its fourth win of the season.
Gluscevic headed the hosts into the lead from a Yuval Avidor cross in the 33rd
minute and Haifa doubled its advantage 12 minutes after the break courtesy of a
Matan Barashi own goal.
Gluscevic poured salt on Beitar’s wounds with a
second goal in the 68th minute, leaving Jerusalem coach Eli Cohen with plenty to
mull over on his way home.
“We have played below our usual level in the
past month,” explained Cohen.
“Even when we struggled in the first month
of the season we didn’t play like this. This isn’t Beitar. We are playing
without any soul.
“I’m responsible and I’ll get the team out of this
situation. Obviously, the players are struggling with all that has happened over
the past month.”
Kadiyev was an unused substitute on Sunday as Beitar
remained in seventh position, two points behind Hapoel Ramat Hasharon in
After two rounds of play and a total of 26 matches, the league
will be split into two sections, with the top six teams to play each other twice
more (10 matches in total) to decide the champion.
A failure to advance
to the championship playoffs would be a hefty blow to the financially-struggling
Beitar as it would deny it big pay days against the league’s top
However, considering its recent play and the fact it visits
Maccabi Haifa next week before ending its regular season matches at Maccabi Tel
Aviv, Beitar has a mountain to climb to finish in the top six.
Maccabi Tel Aviv will look to reopen an eight-point lead at the top when it
visits Bnei Yehuda.
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