League-leader Mac TA looks to put mini-slump behind it

Maccabi followed up the 3-2 loss at Hapoel Beersheba with a disappointing 2-2 home draw versus Maccabi Petah Tikva.

November 22, 2013 01:18
1 minute read.
ERAN ZAHAVI celebrates with his Maccabi Tel Aviv teammates.

Maccabi Tel Aviv's Eran Zahavi 370. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)


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After picking up just a single point from its past two matches, Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Paulo Sousa is hoping his team will be back firing on all cylinders when it visits Hapoel Haifa on Saturday following a two-week break.

Maccabi followed up the 3-2 loss at Hapoel Beersheba with a disappointing 2-2 home draw versus Maccabi Petah Tikva in its most recent match and currently only leads the standings on goal difference ahead of Beersheba.

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“It was important to rest a little bit,” said Sousa, whose team had won six of its first seven matches.

“The players have worked well in the past two weeks and hopefully we can restart the league at the same level we were playing at in the beginning of the season.”

Sousa may have to manage on Saturday without star midfielder Eran Zahavi, who is still recovering from a quadriceps injury suffered against Petah Tikva.

Hapoel Haifa has been one of the surprises of the season so far, currently sitting in third place, four points behind Maccabi.

Haifa saw its three-game winning streak snapped with a 1-0 defeat at Ashdod SC two weeks ago, but coach Shlomi Dora believes his side can give the yellow-and-blue a run for its money at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.

“We are clearly expecting a tough encounter, but we can pick up the points in front of our fans,” he said. “To take points from this game will be a bonus, but I think we can do it.”

After seeing its five-game unbeaten streak come to an end with a 2-0 loss at Maccabi Haifa, Beitar Jerusalem will be aiming to get back on track when it hosts Ironi Kiryat Shmona at Teddy Stadium on Saturday.

Kiryat Shmona is winless in its past three matches, failing to score a goal.

However, just four points currently separate the northerners in ninth place and Hapoel Haifa in third, with Beitar sitting in sixth, two points ahead of Kiryat Shmona and two behind Haifa.

Also Saturday, Hapoel Ra’anana hosts Ashdod, Bnei Sakhnin visits Petah Tikva and Hapoel Acre welcomes Bnei Yehuda.

Hapoel Tel Aviv hosts Maccabi Haifa at Bloomfield Stadium on Sunday in a showdown between two local powerhouses looking to kick-start their seasons, while Beersheba welcomes Hapoel Ramat Hasharon on Monday night.

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