OMER DAMARI Hapoel Tel Aviv 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
They say that when it rains it pours.
Well, the monsoon alarm bells must
be ringing at Hapoel Tel Aviv.
The 4-0 humbling at the hands of Maccabi
Tel Aviv in the derby on Monday night not only marked an embarrassing low in
club history, but also forced Hapoel to reevaluate its goals for the
Hapoel’s first 4-0 defeat in almost six years was also its fourth
straight loss in league action and saw it fall 11 points behind league-leader
The Reds have been outscored 0-12 in their current losing
streak, and while they still have plenty of time to return to the title race
with 14 matches remaining, Hapoel is currently praying it just manages to make
the top-six championship playoffs.
After two rounds of play and a total
of 26 matches, the league will be split into two sections. The top six teams
will play each other twice more (10 matches in total) to decide the champion,
while the bottom eight sides will play each other once more (seven matches in
total) to determine the relegation battle.
Only four points currently
separate Hapoel and Beitar Jerusalem in seventh place with four more matches to
be played until the playoffs begin.
Of Hapoel’s remaining four matches,
three are against teams also fighting for a place in the top-six, including
Saturday’s opponent at Bloomfield Stadium, reigning- champion Ironi Kiryat
Hapoel will be without striker Toto Tamuz on Saturday after he
was suspended indefinitely on Wednesday for repeated disciplinary
Coach Yossi Abuksis will also have to manage once more
without midfielder Gili Vermut, who will have to undergo further surgery on his
thigh and is expected to miss at least eight more weeks and possibly the
remainder of the season.
Furthermore, Hapoel will need to host its next
three home matches away from Bloomfield. The Israel Football Association
disciplinary court punished the club for a banner raised by fans in a match at
Ashdod SC two months ago which read: “Pnini to the gas,” referring to Maccabi
Tel Aviv basketball player, Guy Pnini.
Hapoel plans to appeal the
“This has been one of our toughest weeks and we are sorry for
the disappointment and pain we caused our fans,” midfielder Salim Toama told the
club’s official Facebook page.
“We know we need to work hard to regain
our honor and I’m certain that on Saturday against Kiryat Shmona things will
Second-placed Maccabi Haifa, which is three points ahead
of Hapoel, will look to close within five points of Maccabi Tel Aviv, at least
for 48 hours, when it visits Bnei Sakhnin on Saturday.
yellow-and-blue doesn’t face Bnei Yehuda until Monday night.
Saturday, Hapoel Ramat Gan hosts Hapoel Beersheba, Maccabi Netanya visits Hapoel
Ramat Hasharon and Hapoel Acre plays Ashdod.
Beitar Jerusalem visits
Hapoel Haifa on Sunday.