Bnei Yehuda in desperation mode

“A team is always more motivated when a new coach comes in,” warned Maccabi coach Paulo Sousa.

December 27, 2013 01:52
1 minute read.
Eran Zahavi

Bnei Yehuda's Eran Zahavi. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)

Bnei Yehuda will aim to bridge the massive gulf between the top and the bottom of the Premier League standings on Saturday night when it hosts Maccabi Tel Aviv at Bloomfield Stadium.

Bnei Yehuda remained rooted to last place last Saturday, losing 1-0 at Ashdod SC following David Solari’s winner one minute from time.

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The club from south Tel Aviv has lost five straight matches and 11 of its past 13 contests, scoring just a single goal in its last four games.

After three weeks under the guidance of interim coach Ya’akov Asayag, Bnei Yehuda finally signed a full-time replacement for Dror Kashtan this week, bringing back Yossi Abuksis.

Abuksis, who is also the assistant coach of the Israel national team, led Bnei Yehuda to a third-place finish in the 2011/12 season before leaving to coach Hapoel Tel Aviv.

He hasn’t guided a club side since he was sacked by Hapoel in February after a poor run of results.

“I believe we can avoid relegation,” said Abuksis. “It all depends on how we strengthen the squad in the January transfer window. I’m not fooling myself and I know it will be very difficult, but I believe we can do it.”

Maccabi holds a four-point gap at the top, thrashing Hapoel Acre 5-0 last week for its fifth straight win and 11th in 14 matches so far this season.

“A team is always more motivated when a new coach comes in,” warned Maccabi coach Paulo Sousa.

A win for the defending champion will see it increase its margin over second-placed Hapoel Beersheba to seven points for at least 48 hours, with Beersheba to visit Hapoel Tel Aviv on Monday.

Elsewhere Saturday, Maccabi Haifa, which has picked up just a single point from its past two games, hosts Ashdod SC, Bnei Sakhnin visits Hapoel Acre, Hapoel Ramat Hasharon welcomes Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Hapoel Ra’anana faces Hapoel Haifa.

Beitar Jerusalem hosts Maccabi Petah Tikva on Sunday.

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