Haifa derby 311.
(photo credit: Hapoel Haifa website )
After nine years without a derby win, Hapoel Haifa visits Maccabi Haifa at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium on Monday night believing it can finally defeat its arch-rival.
Hapoel ended a seven-match losing streak to the Greens with a 0-0 draw when the teams last met in April, but the last time it beat Maccabi was in May 2001, winning 3-1 in what was an almost meaningless match for its opponent, which had already clinched the Premier League title.
Seven months later, with his business empire on the verge of a meltdown, Hapoel owner Ruby Shapira committed suicide, and the club plunged into disarray.
Hapoel spent six of the next seven seasons in the National League and
after a reasonable start to the current campaign, looks set to maintain
its top flight status for a second straight year for the first time
since the Shapira era.
However, points will take backstage to pride on Monday, with Hapoel
coach Nitzan Shirazi well aware of the history of the Haifa derby.
“This is no regular match,” said Shirazi, whose team is unbeaten in its last four encounters.
“I know Hapoel hasn’t won for nine years, but Maccabi has weaknesses just as we do and we will have to take advantage of them.”
On Sunday, Hapoel Beersheba climbed to sixth position in the standings thanks to a 1-0 home victory over Hapoel Ashkelon.
Defender Oded Gavish scored the only goal of the match with a header in the 61st minute.