Mid-week full slate on the local pitch

Hap BS visits Hap TA, Klinger still on board; sizzling Mac TA faces Hasharon; Betar in Netanya.

September 21, 2011 08:13
3 minute read.
Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Hapoel Tel Aviv 311. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)

After having his resignation offer turned down, Nir Klinger is hoping to finally guide Hapoel Beersheba to its first point(s) of the Premier League season when it visits Hapoel Tel Aviv on Wednesday night.

Beersheba’s 3-1 defeat to Hapoel Ramat Hasharon on Saturday was its fourth straight since the beginning of the season, marking its worst ever start to a league campaign.

Klinger tendered his resignation in a meeting with club owner Alona Barkat on Sunday, but she asked him to remain at the helm, ignoring the pressure from the fans.

“I really hope that what happened cleared all the uncertainty and will give everyone extra motivation,” Klinger said. “Alona is the one who spends the money and I’m happy that she is committed to me.

“I’ve been through plenty in soccer and I know what I want to see from my team.

I always fight and give my all until I have nothing left. I’m sure I can succeed.”

Last season, Barkat responded to the calls from the crowd to sack Klinger by extending the coach’s contract until the end of 2011/12, and even after the side’s awful start to the current campaign, she continues to back her coach.

“The strength of a club is measured when times are tough and we are certainly going through a difficult period at the moment,” Barkat said. “But I’m sure that we can overcome it if we remain united. I’m certain the coaching staff will know how to correct the problems and make the needed changes.”

However, Beersheba faces some very stern opposition in its next two matches, hosting Maccabi Tel Aviv next Sunday after facing Hapoel Tel Aviv at Bloomfield Stadium on Wednesday.

Hapoel is slowly finding its way under Dror Kashtan, but despite its relative struggles, it has picked up 10 of a possible 12 points to date and will be disappointed with anything but a comfortable win on Wednesday.

The only team to have started the season better than Hapoel is arch-rival Maccabi Tel Aviv, which will be looking to make it five wins out of five matches when it visits Hapoel Ramat Hasharon on Wednesday.

Ramat Hasharon’s victory in Beersheba on Saturday was its first ever in the top-flight, but it is bound to struggle against a Maccabi team which has amassed an 11-1 goal difference in its first four matches of the season.

Maccabi Haifa rebounded from its recent poor run of results with a dramatic 3-1 win over Hapoel Rishon Lezion on Sunday, with Sari Falach and Weeam Amasha scoring in stoppage time after the reigning champion trailed 1-0 until Itzik Cohen’s equalizer in the 71st minute.

Haifa visits Bnei Sakhnin on Wednesday, with the hosts winning two straight games before losing 2-0 to the yellow-and-blue on Sunday.

Betar Jerusalem’s shallow squad will be tested on Wednesday when Yuval Naim takes his team to Maccabi Netanya four days after Betar won for the third time in four matches this season and three days before it hosts Hapoel Petah Tikva.

Three matches in eight days may prove to be more than Betar can handle, especially with one of them being against the plucky Netanya, which was lucky to beat Bnei Yehuda on Saturday thanks to two late goals by Ahmed Saba.

Also Wednesday, Hapoel Haifa hosts Hapoel Acre, Bnei Yehuda visits Hapoel Petah Tikva, Maccabi Petah Tikva travels to Ashdod SC and Hapoel Rishon Lezion welcomes Ironi Kiryat Shmona.

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