Yellow-and-blue looks to wrest back lone spot

Despite snapping its two-game losing streak by claiming a memorable 4- 3 victory over Hapoel Ramat Hasharon, Maccabi falls.

November 30, 2012 04:45
2 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv's Roberto Colautti

Maccabi Tel Aviv's Roberto Colautti 370. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)

Despite snapping its two-game losing streak by claiming a memorable 4- 3 victory over Hapoel Ramat Hasharon last week, Maccabi Tel Aviv still lost its hold on first place in the Premier League standings.

Hapoel Tel Aviv’s 4-1 win over Hapoel Beersheba took it above the yellow-and-blue on goal difference, with both teams on 24 points after 11 matches.

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Hapoel doesn’t play until Monday when it visits third-placed Ashdod SC, giving Maccabi an ideal opportunity to mount pressure on the Reds with a win over Bnei Sakhnin at Bloomfield Stadium on Saturday.

After failing to find the back of the net in two consecutive defeats, Maccabi scored four goals in one match for just the second time this season and it will require clinical finishing yet again against Sakhnin.

Sakhnin picked up just a single point from its first five matches of the campaign, but it is unbeaten in its last six, conceding just a sole goal in its past four contests.

“I’ve received a warm welcome at Maccabi,” said Tel Aviv midfielder Maharan Radi, who joined the yellowand- blue from Sakhnin in the summer and has become a fixture in its lineup, starting in all 11 league matches.

“Joining Maccabi is just the beginning for me. Now I need to peak with the team.”

Maccabi announced on Thursday that assistant coach Gerard Autet has left the club. Oscar Garcia’s assistant flew back to Spain last week due to the deterioration in the security situation in Israel following Operation Pillar of Defense and he has decided not to return.

Also Saturday, Maccabi Netanya hosts Betar Jerusalem, which will be boosted by Thursday’s news from the Israel Football Association’s disciplinary court.

The court handed Betar a NIS 70,000 fine and punished the team to host its next two matches away from Teddy Stadium after a lighter thrown from the Teddy stands during Monday’s 2-1 defeat to Maccabi Haifa hit linesman Amihai Moses and delayed the match for several minutes.

Betar, which could have faced the activation of a suspended sentence of hosting two matches in front of empty stands, was relieved by the ruling as it means it will still enjoy a much-needed big pay-day from the upcoming showdown with Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Elsewhere Saturday, Beersheba hosts Bnei Yehuda, Ramat Hasharon visits Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Hapoel Acre welcomes Hapoel Ramat Gan and its new coach Eli Cohen, who replaced Freddy David on Wednesday.

Hapoel Haifa hosts Maccabi Haifa in the derby at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium on Sunday.

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