betar jlem 298.88.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
The Israeli Premier League returns to action this weekend after a two-week layoff during which the national team collected four points in its Euro 2008 qualifying round matches against England and Estonia.
Betar Jerusalem will be looking to take another step toward its first league championship in nine years when it hosts Hapoel Kfar Saba on Saturday night in Matchday 26. Betar crashed to an embarrassing 3-0 defeat in the Toto Cup semifinal the last time it met Kfar Saba and will be seeking revenge against Eli Ohana's men.
Hapoel Tel Aviv hopes to rebound from its 4-0 humiliation by Maccabi Haifa when it faces Maccabi Petah Tikva at Bloomfield Stadium.
Hapoel was outplayed by the three-time defending champion in its last league match and cannot afford to drop any more points on Saturday if it intends to push Betar for the title.
Maccabi Netanya hosts Ashdod SC on Saturday in what should be one of the more entertaining matches of the weekend between two teams comfortably placed in the middle of the standings.
The bottom four clubs face each other on Saturday, as Hakoah Amidar Ramat Gan hosts Bnei Yehuda and Maccabi Herzliya visits Hapoel Petah Tikva.
On Sunday, second-place Maccabi Tel Aviv hosts Maccabi Haifa at Bloomfield Stadium.
State Cup draw
The draw for the ninth round of the State Cup, the first in which Premier League clubs take part, was held on Thursday at Israel Football Association headquarters at National Stadium in Ramat Gan.
The most intriguing match will be played at Kiryat Eliezer, where Maccabi Haifa will host Betar Jerusalem.
Other notable ninth round matches, which will be played on April 10, include Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Hakoah Amidar Ramat Gan; Hapoel Petah Tikva vs Maccabi Herzliya; Bnei Yehuda vs Hapoel Kfar Saba; Hapoel Tel Aviv vs Hapoel Jerusalem; and Maccabi Netanya vs Bnei Sakhnin.
Saturday's matches: Hapoel Tel Aviv vs Maccabi Petah Tikva, 5:15 p.m. (live on Sport1 [channel 54]); Hapoel Petah Tikva vs Maccabi Herzliya, 6:30 p.m.; Hakoah Amidar Ramat Gan vs Bnei Yehuda, 6:30 p.m.; Maccabi Netanya vs Ashdod SC, 7:20 p.m. (live on Sport2 [channel 53]); Betar Jerusalem vs Hapoel Kfar Saba, 7:30 p.m. (live on Sport1). Sunday: Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Maccabi Haifa, 8:50 p.m. (live on Channel 10).