Hapoel Tel Aviv, Bnei Yehuda set for mini-derby as 2nd round opens

The first round of the Premier League was completely dominated by Maccabi Haifa.

By SHARON SOLOMON
December 2, 2005 07:16
4 minute read.

 
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The first round of the Premier League was completely dominated by Maccabi Haifa. The reigning champion won 11 straight matches with relative ease and all of its players were in peak form. The greens open the second round at Doha Stadium, taking on struggling Bnei Sakhnin, which will be desperate to earn at least a point. Second place contenders Hapoel Tel Aviv and Bnei Yehuda face off at Bloomfield Stadium, while Reuven Atar's Maccabi Netanya hosts an off-form Maccabi Petah Tikva. David Revivo and Ashdod SC, who thrashed Hapoel Kfar Saba 5-0 last week, face Motti Ivanir's Upper Nazareth Friday afternoon in the Matchday 12 opening fixture. Nazareth will be missing key players Dudi Fadlon and Eyal Ben-Ami, who are out with injuries. Veteran right back Avishai Zano has collected five yellow cards and is suspended for the game. Maccabi Haifa coach Roni Levy plans to start his strongest lineup against Bnei Sakhnin. Haifa's Yaniv Katan will most likely stay in green until the end of the season, with West Ham United reluctant to pay $1 million for the talented forward. Katan's contract in Haifa expires next summer and West Ham would be able to sign him on a free transfer. Bnei Yehuda hosts Hapoel Tel Aviv in an important match that may help decide which team will qualify for European competition from the league's second place. Tel Aviv coach Dror Kashtan will play Ilya Yevorian and youngster Omer Peretz up front, leaving regular starter Elyaniv Barda on the bench. Bnei Yehuda striker Moshe Biton is suffering from a ligament tear in his left knee, and will be sidelined for about a month. Eli Biton is expected to replace him in the starting lineup. Hapoel Petah Tikva will be looking to return to winning ways against last-place Hapoel Kfar Saba at the Petah Tikva stadium. Kfar Saba owner Eli Tabib his promised the fans new signings in the coming weeks. Negotiations with Maccabi Tel Aviv are under way in order to sign left back Shuki Nagar. Emanuel Papu is injured and is doubtful for the game. Maccabi Petah Tikva takes on Maccabi Netanya in a bottom-of-the-table clash. Each team has 11 points, and is looking to escape the relegation zone. The highlight of the weekend the Matchday 12 finale on Sunday when Maccabi Tel Aviv hosts Betar Jerusalem at the National Stadium in Ramat Gan. Maor Melikson won't be available for the yellow-and-black after being sent off last week. Veteran David Amsalem and Tomer Ben Yosef will also be missing. Around 7,000 Betar fans are expected to make the trip from the capital up for the game and will do their utmost to cancel Tel Aviv's home advantage. Maccabi Petah Tikva 0, Lokomotiv Moscow 4 Maccabi Petah Tikva remained pointless in Group B of the UEFA Cup after being routed by group leader Lokomotiv Wednesday night at the National Stadium. The "Luzons" have now lost three straight UEFA Cup matches, leaving them with no chance to qualify for the next round, while Lokomotiv booked its spot in the knockout stage. Dmitri Loskov scored with a beautifully struck free kick in the 27th minute to give the visitors the early lead. Igor Lebedenko completed his brace within two minutes (47‚ 48) and Francesco Ruopolo added the fourth just five minutes later. Petah Tikva was awarded a penalty kick in the 55th minute, but Salim Tuamah failed to convert and denied his team a consolation goal. "We broke down mentally," said coach Guy Luzon after the match. "We let our fans down, but we'll try our best to play well against Espanyol in the next [UEFA Cup] game."

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