Betar hosts Hap Haifa, looking to rebound

Despite first setback of Premier League season in a 1-0 defeat to Hapoel Tel Aviv, Betar Jerusalem coach is confident team will be able bounce back.

betar jerusalem (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
betar jerusalem
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Despite suffering its first setback of the Premier League season in a 1-0 defeat to Hapoel Tel Aviv on Sunday, Betar Jerusalem coach Yuval Naim is confident his team will be able bounce back when it hosts Hapoel Haifa on Saturday night.
After surprisingly winning its first two matches of the season, Betar failed to translate an impressive first half at Bloomfield Stadium into goals and was eventually outlasted by a fitter Hapoel team.
Jerusalem paid the price for its tumultuous summer and the lack of a preseason training camp in the second half in Tel Aviv, but Naim remains very optimistic regarding his side’s future.
“It will take us time to build up our match fitness but there’s nothing to worry about,” Naim said. “We have a young team, and despite the result against Hapoel Tel Aviv, we were very encouraged by our performance in the first half. We are not worried or stressed. I think Betar has got its pride back.”
Hapoel Haifa, on the other hand, is still looking for its first point of the season, scoring just one goal in three defeats.
Coach Nitzan Shirazi should still be at the helm for Saturday’s match, but he might not last much longer if Haifa loses for a fourth straight game.
There are two other teams which have lost all three of their matches to date, but at least one of them is guaranteed to get off the mark on Saturday.
Hapoel Beersheba hosts Hapoel Ramat Hasharon in what is an ideal opportunity for both teams to finally kick-start their seasons against a struggling opponent.
While it is of little surprise that Ramat Hasharon is still trying to find its way in its first ever season of topflight soccer, Beersheba’s start to the campaign is especially disappointing.
Nir Klinger was expected to achieve far more with his squad, and with matches against Tel Aviv’s two big clubs coming up, Beersheba can not afford anything but a victory against Ramat Hasharon on Saturday.
Also Saturday, Maccabi Petah Tikva hosts Hapoel Petah Tikva in the local derby, while Ashdod SC visits Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Bnei Yehuda welcomes Maccabi Netanya.

After playing in the Europa League on Thursday night, Israel’s big three will all be in action on Sunday.
Maccabi Haifa hosts Hapoel Rishon Lezion, Hapoel Tel Aviv visits Hapoel Acre and Maccabi Tel Aviv faces Bnei Sakhnin, which was deducted two points earlier this week after the Israel Football Association disciplinary court found it guilty of paying Nastja Ceh under the table.