Hapoel Tel Aviv may be entering Tuesday’s Champions League group stage opener at
Benfica on the back of an erratic start to its Premier League title
However, compared to Benfica’s disastrous beginning to its local
campaign, Hapoel’s single victory in its first three league matches is quite
The Portuguese champion has lost three of its first four
league games, falling 2-1 to Vitoria de Guimaraes in its latest encounter on
Nevertheless, Benfica remains the clear favorite for Tuesday’s
game at the Estadio da Luz and Tel Aviv goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama has no
illusions regarding the difficulty of the task on hand.
“Benfica is the
better team,” said Enyeama, who was not at his best in Tel Aviv’s 2-2 draw with
Hapoel Acre on Saturday.
“However, I think we have a 50 percent chance in
Portugal. Benfica has proven players, but we will come to fight and will do our
Incidentally, Hapoel’s two other opponents in Group B have also
struggled at the start of their league campaigns.
Schalke 04 has lost all
three of its matches in the German Bundesliga, while Lyon has won just one of
five encounters in the French Ligue 1.
Hapoel hosts Lyon in its first
home match on September 29 and it now seems it will likely do so at Bloomfield
Israel Football Association chairman Avi Luzon said on Sunday
that he has been told by UEFA officials that Tel Aviv will be able to play its
home matches at Bloomfield rather than National Stadium at Ramat Gan, but Hapoel
is still awaiting an official announcement from European soccer’s governing
Meanwhile, Hapoel Haifa maintained its perfect start to the Premier
League season on Sunday, defeating Bnei Yehuda 2-0 at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium
thanks to Gal Arel’s brace (19, 81).
Maccabi Haifa goes for its third
straight victory when it visits Hapoel Beersheba on Monday.