With hot start in the past, Mac TA needs a win

Four straight wins to start the season took Maccabi to the top of the standings, but it has triumphed just once in its last six matches.

October 23, 2011 02:00
2 minute read.
MACCABI TEL AVIV goalkeeper Guy Haimov

MACCABI TEL AVIV goalkeeper Guy Haimov 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

After a sensational start to the season, Maccabi Tel Aviv has lost its way in recent weeks, and coach Moti Ivanir will find himself with some difficult questions to answer should it fail to win once more when it hosts Maccabi Petah Tikva in Premier League action on Sunday night.

Four straight wins to start the season took Maccabi to the top of the standings, but it has triumphed just once in its last six matches in all competitions, including its past four in the league.

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A defeat to Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Sunday was followed by a 3-0 loss at Stoke City in the Europa League on Thursday, but Yoav Ziv, whose sending off against Stoke for kicking his boot at the referee’s assistant has become a YouTube hit, believes Maccabi can bounce back at Bloomfield Stadium on Sunday.

“I took my frustration out on the boot and I was unlucky that it flew straight at the linesman,” Ziv said. “The best medicine for the defeat is to win on Sunday and we will have to keep our foot on the gas throughout the match.”

Maccabi Petah Tikva will be guided for the first time by coach Eyal Lachman, who replaced Marco Balbul.

Also Sunday, league-leader Hapoel Tel Aviv visits Ashdod SC and Maccabi Haifa hosts Kiryat Shmona.

On Saturday, Maccabi Netanya climbed into second place, tied on 17 points with Hapoel, thanks to a 2-1 victory over Hapoel Beersheba.

Ahmed Saba gave Netanya the lead in the 52nd minute with his seventh goal in the past six matches, with Firas Mugrabi scoring 10 minutes later before Yusuf Abu-Laban netted a consolation (77) for Beersheba.

Hapoel Haifa claimed its first win of the season on Saturday, beating Hapoel Petah Tikva 1-0 at National Stadium in Ramat Gan thanks to Vladimir Gluscevic’s goal (12). Guy Tzarfati and Yossi Dora were sent off in the 51st minute after an unsporting tussle.

Also Saturday, Tomer Swisa scored twice (27, 89) to give Hapoel Ramat Hasharon a 2-1 win over Bnei Yehuda, which got its goal courtesy of Dino Ndlovu (36), while Hapoel Acre beat Hapoel Rishon Lezion 3-0 thanks to goals from Sagiv Cohen (23), Stefan Scepovic (58) and Aleksandar Davidov (90).

On Monday, Betar Jerusalem visits Bnei Sakhnin.

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