Local Soccer: Bnei Yehuda hoping to be latest team to beat Betar

Hezi Shirazi and Ya'akov Asayag's team faces reigning champion Betar Jerusalem in front of empty stands, looking to claim its sixth straight league victory.

jp.services1 (photo credit:)
jp.services1
(photo credit: )
Bnei Yehuda will hope to write the next chapter in its great escape at Teddy Stadium on Saturday night. Hezi Shirazi and Ya'akov Asayag's team faces reigning champion Betar Jerusalem in front of empty stands, looking to claim its sixth straight league victory. Last week's 1-0 victory over Maccabi Petah Tikva means that despite being rock-bottom of the league standings Bnei Yehuda is just a single point away from safety. The key to Bnei Yehuda's resurgence has been its improved defensive play. The team, which previously had one of the worst defensive records in the league, has kept four straight clean sheets, not conceding a goal since the end of March. "Betar is the champion and a strong team, but we must concentrate on our play," Shirazi said. "Our goal is to try and win at Teddy just as we would any other match." Betar has lost two straight league matches and played one of its worst games of the season last week in the 1-0 defeat at Ashdod SC. Even though no one at the club will be willing to admit it, Jerusalem is already fully focused on next Tuesday's State Cup final against Hapoel Tel Aviv, looking to win its first league and cup double. Hapoel Tel Aviv can all but clinch another season of Premier League soccer with a victory at Bnei Sakhnin on Saturday. Coach Eli Gutman has said that he will not be resting any of his players ahead of the cup final and that he will play his strongest side on Saturday as the league is the team's main priority. Hapoel, which defeated Ironi Kiryat Shmona 2-0 last week, has won four of its last six matches and will be confident against a Sakhnin side, which lost 3-1 to Maccabi Tel Aviv in its last match. Maccabi Netanya can move ever closer to a second straight season in the UEFA Cup on Saturday with a home victory over Ashdod SC. Netanya has won its last two matches and has a three point cushion over Sakhnin and Kiryat Shmona in the battle for the runners-up position. Also Saturday, Kiryat Shmona hosts Maccabi Herzliya and Hapoel Kfar Saba visits Maccabi Petah Tikva, which has gone nine matches without scoring a single goal. On Sunday, Maccabi Haifa hosts Maccabi Tel Aviv at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.