Betar drops another one, falls into relegation zone

“The way we played tonight we don’t deserve to stay in the league," says coach Yuval Naim.

Yuval Naim 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Yuval Naim 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Betar Jerusalem coach Yuval Naim admitted that his team will be relegated from the Premier League if it doesn’t significantly improve its play soon following Sunday’s 3-0 humbling at the hands of fellow-struggler Hapoel Haifa at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.
Betar failed to claim all three points for an eighth consecutive match, looking completely helpless against a Haifa side which climbed out of the relegation zone at Jerusalem’s expense with another dogged performance under Tal Banin’s guidance.
Gal Arel gave the hosts the lead with an easy finish in the 13th minute and Betar’s flimsy defense was beaten once more in the 75th, with Yuval Avidor clinching the win before Hisham Kiwan piled the misery on Betar with the goal of the night in stoppage time, releasing an unstoppable shot from the edge of the area.
“We played a very poor match,” said Naim, whose team is tied on 17 points with Hapoel Haifa, but trails Banin’s men due its inferior goal difference.
“The way we played tonight we don’t deserve to stay in the league. We need to make a big change and if we do that we will stay up. But if we don’t, this sort of performance will not be enough to keep us in the top-flight.
“We played disgracefully and should I believe I can’t improve matters any more I will leave.”
Meanwhile, it was a somber day at Maccabi Haifa’s training complex in Kfar Galim on Sunday following the embarrassing 4-2 defeat at Hapoel Rishon Lezion the previous night.
Haifa players were supposed to have the day off, but coach Elisha Levy decided to schedule an impromptu training session after seeing his team drop a twogoal lead and lose to a side which hadn’t won a league match since August, going winless in 16 consecutive games.
There was much speculation Levy would decide to quit following his team’s fourth defeat in six matches, but he looks set to remain at the helm for the time being, although that could change by the time the reigning-champion hosts Bnei Sakhnin next Monday.
“Everyone should take a look at themselves, I know I have personally done so,” Levy told the players. “I know this is a difficult situation, but we need to lift ourselves and pull out of this slump as a team.”
On Monday, Ironi Kiryat Shmona can take a significant step towards an historic championship when it visits Ashdod SC.
Kiryat Shmona has won seven straight matches to open a six-point gap at the top of the standings over Hapoel Tel Aviv and Ashdod, which has triumphed in eight of nine home matches this season.