Betar Jerusalem has a new yet familiar savior

Cohen back for Round 3 at Betar; Mac Haifa routs Mac PT.

February 14, 2012 04:32
1 minute read.

BETAR JERUSALEM’S Barak Moshe 390. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)


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Betar Jerusalem has a new savior, and it’s a familiar face.

Eli Cohen will begin his third tenure at the club on Tuesday after signing a contract to guide the team until the end of the season following a three-hour meeting with chairman Itzik Kornfein on Monday.

The 61-year-old Cohen, who began his coaching career at Maccabi Ramat Amidar in 1987, first guided Betar in 1995 and led it to the league championship in 1996/97.

He left at the end of that season, but returned to help save the team from relegation in 2001/02.

That experience could be very valuable in the coming months as he tries to steer Betar away from danger.

Jerusalem is currently in 12th place in the Premier League standings, just two points above the relegation zone, and has netted a meager 16 goals in 25 matches this season, eight fewer than the second-worst scoring team in the league.

Yuval Naim resigned last week after losing faith in the squad, but Cohen will have to find a way to get more out of the Betar players, starting with Monday’s match against Maccabi Tel Aviv at Teddy Stadium.

Meanwhile, Maccabi Haifa climbed to sixth place in the table on Monday with a 4-1 victory over Maccabi Petah Tikva at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.

In what was perhaps its best match of the season, the reigning-champion demolished Petah Tikva for its third win in four matches to keep alive its hopes of qualifying for European competition.

Yaniv Katan gave the Greens the lead with an exquisite free kick in the eighth minute and set up Mohammad Ghadir for Haifa’s second in the 24th.

Alon Turgeman made it a rout with two strikes in the second half (50, 64), with Tal Ben-Haim’s goal (79) no consolation for Petah Tikva, which had entered the match with two straight wins under new coach Moshe Sinai.

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