Despite Carmel disaster, Maccabi Haifa to host Acre

Match was postponed 48 hours due to fire, but Greens now have shot at Premier League lead.

Maccabi Haifa 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Haifa 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Haifa can climb to the top of the Premier League standings with a victory over Hapoel Acre at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium, but had the Greens had their way they would not even be playing on Monday night.
The match against Acre was postponed by 48 hours from Saturday due to the Carmel fire, but Haifa CEO Itamar Chizik believes that all of this weekend’s league encounters should not have gone ahead.
“I’m disappointed in the CEOs of the other clubs, because I’m sure that if they had pressured the Israel Football Association, the matches would not have taken place,” Chizik said.
“Had the fire continued we would not have been able to play on Monday.
But the worst is behind us, and even though the atmosphere will not be like a regular game, the match will go ahead.”
Haifa, which handed out hundreds of free tickets to Monday’s match to residents of the Carmel, has struggled in recent weeks.
The Greens have won just two of their last four matches, and coach Elisha Levy is expecting an especially tough encounter against Acre, which dropped to its first defeat in eight matches last week.
“We feel the pain of the recent days and this is an awkward situation,” Levy said. “However, we have our targets and we have a match to play. We need to prepare for it in the best way possible and do our best to defeat Acre.”
Also Monday, Ironi Kiryat Shmona, which leads Haifa on goal difference, visits Hapoel Beersheba at Vasermil Stadium.
Maccabi Petah Tikva moved into fifth position in the standings on Sunday, beating Maccabi Netanya 2-0 at National Stadium in Ramat Gan.
Defender Sebastian Sansoni gave the hosts the lead in the 35th minute and Omer Damari clinched the three points 12 minutes from time, scoring for a third straight week.
Netanya’s fourth defeat in its last five matches leaves it in 11th position in the table.