(photo credit: AP)
Betar Jerusalem has won its first three matches of the 2006/07 Premier League season and will be looking to extend its streak when it faces former Betar star Uri Malmilian and Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan.
Maccabi Haifa's and Hapoel Tel Aviv's Matchday 4 fixtures - against Bnei Yehuda and Maccabi Herzliya, respectively - have been postponed to October 24 in light of the teams' UEFA Cup matches on Thursday night. Also, no Premier League matches will be held on Sunday or Monday because of Yom Kippur.
Betar Jerusalem, the current league leader, is coming off an impressive 3-2 victory over Hapoel Kfar Saba and returns to the Teddy Stadium to take on promoted Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan, which is coached by Malmilian, Betar's undisputed star when the club won its first league championship in 1987 and considered an all-time legend and fan-favorite.
Playmaker Fabrice Fernandes was involved in an non-sports-related incident earlier this week and might be omitted from Ossie Ardiles's starting 11 as a result. Aviram Bruchian is expected to be promoted to the starting lineup if Fernandes is indeed benched.
Eli Ohana's Hapoel Kfar Saba will be looking to rebound from its loss to Betar in the previous round, as it hosts Eli Guttman's Maccabi Netanya. The fixture will be held at Levita Stadium after the police approved the venue.
The greens' preparations for the game have been hindered by Douglas De Silva's injury. The Brazilian defender has sustained a serious knee strain, which will keep him out of action for about a month.
Eli Cohen's Maccabi Tel Aviv hosts Yossi Mizrahi's Ashdod SC at Bloomfield Stadium in what might be an easy home fixture. The yellow-and-blue have secured only one point from its first three matches and anything less than a victory could lead to a major upheaval with the squad.
Saturday also features the Petah Tikva derby, which in the past has been a physical and intense affair, which has turned violent at times. Maccabi enters the game as the clear favorite, especially after struggling Hapoel parted ways with star striker Bernard Tchoutang earlier this week.