Betar Jerusalem's Yuval Naimi 311.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
With a seven-point cushion from the relegation zone, matters are relatively calm
at Betar Jerusalem.
However, things could get pretty uncomfortable at
Beit Vegan should Betar fail to break out of its recent rut soon.
as Hapoel Petah Tikva, Hapoel Beersheba, Hapoel Haifa and Hapoel Rishon Lezion
have been playing, the four teams beneath Betar in the standings will eventually
catch up with it should it continue to win just one in nine matches and lose
four of five games as it has done entering Saturday’s encounter against Maccabi
Petah Tikva at Teddy Stadium.
Since collecting nine of a possible 12
points to start the season, Betar has picked up just five more points from nine
While losing to reigning-champion Maccabi Haifa and the strong
Ironi Kiryat Shmona in its last two matches may be acceptable from Betar in its
current state, everyone in Jerusalem recognizes that anything but all three
points against Petah Tikva on Saturday will be a bitter
“Petah Tikva will look to close down the match, but I
hope that we will make the most of our chances in front of goal, something which
we haven’t done in our last two games,” said Betar coach Yuval Naim, who will be
without injured captain Aviram Bruchian on Saturday.
“We have looked good
in our last few matches, but we are missing our chances and conceding easy
Petah Tikva is a team of our level and I don’t even want to think
of the possibility of a defeat. We know what type of match we are facing and I
hope we can get back to winning ways.”
Kiryat Shmona can leapfrog Hapoel
Tel Aviv into first place for at least 48 hours with a win at Hapoel Acre on
Kiryat Shmona has won six of its last seven matches, conceding
just a single goal in those victories, while also going unbeaten in its last 11
Acre had its six-match unbeaten streak broken by a 1-0 defeat
at Maccabi Haifa last week.
Also Saturday, the high-flying Ashdod SC goes
for its seventh home win in eight matches when it hosts Hapoel Rishon Lezion,
while Maccabi Netanya welcomes Hapoel Ramat Hasharon, Bnei Yehuda visits Hapoel
Beersheba and Bnei Sakhnin goes to Hapoel Petah Tikva.
Maccabi Tel Aviv
will look to snap its three-match losing streak when its visits Hapoel Haifa on
Sunday, with Hapoel Tel Aviv to host Maccabi Haifa in a crunch showdown on