Winless Maccabi Haifa looks to right the ship at home

Haifa drops to defeats in its first two games before managing just a 1-1 draw at Hapoel Beersheba.

September 21, 2012 04:31
2 minute read.
Jordi Cruyff, newly signed striker Robert Earnshaw

Jordi Cruyff, newly signed striker Robert Earnshaw 370. (photo credit: Maccabi Tel Aviv website)


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Maccabi Haifa continues its search for its first Premier League win of the season when it hosts Ashdod SC at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium on Saturday.

Despite being regarded as one of the main contenders for the championship at the start of the season, Haifa dropped to defeats in its first two games before managing just a 1-1 draw at Hapoel Beersheba last Saturday.

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Haifa already finds itself eight points behind fellow title favorites Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Tel Aviv, as well as its opponent on Saturday, with Ashdod currently heading the standings after an impressive start to the campaign.

Yossi Mizrahi’s men beat Betar Jerusalem 2-1 last week for their third straight win, but will only face their first true test on Saturday.

“One point from a possible nine is very poor,” said Haifa coach Reuven Atar.

“We are not in a position in which we can talk about other teams and where we would like to finish in the standings.

“Ashdod has got off to an excellent start, but it hasn’t had to play the opponents we have.”


The signing of Dekel Keinan should help settle Haifa’s vulnerable defense and he could already figure in Saturday’s lineup.

“I’ve waited for this moment for a long time and I’m desperate to play,” said Keinan, who returns to Kiryat Eliezer after two unsuccessful years in England where he made little impression at Blackpool, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace and Bristol City.

“It is no secret that I hoped to stay in Europe for more than two years, but in the situation that developed it was necessary for me to return to Israel.

“Even though I had more lucrative offers, once Reuven told me that it is vital that I come to Haifa it was an easy decision.”

Besides Haifa, which also signed Avihai Yadin from Hapoel Tel Aviv on Thursday, five more teams enter Saturday still looking for their first wins.

Betar Jerusalem, with just a single point from a possible nine, hosts Hapoel Acre, while Beersheba, which has drawn all three of its games so far, visits Maccabi Netanya.

Rock-bottom Bnei Sakhnin hosts Hapoel Ramat Gan, with both teams only picking up a single point to date, while Hapoel Haifa, which is also on one point, visits Bnei Yehuda.

Hapoel Tel Aviv travels to Hapoel Ramat Hasharon on Sunday, while Maccabi Tel Aviv hosts Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Monday.

The yellow-and-blue continued to bolster its squad in the final day of the Israeli transfer window on Thursday, signing Wales and Cardiff City striker Robert Earnshaw.

The 31-year-old, who hasn’t played for Cardiff this season, scored 202 goals in 453 league and cup appearances playing for Cardiff, Nottingham Forrest, Derby County, Norwich City and West Bromwich Albion.

“I am delighted with this latest addition,” said Maccabi’s Sports Director Jordi Cruyff about Earnshaw, who has represented his country on 58 occasions scoring 16 goals for The Dragons.

“The last day of the transfer window always gives pleasant surprises and this is one of them. His goal-scoring record speaks for itself.”

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