Betar hosts Mac PT looking to stay afloat in mediocrity

Things could get pretty uncomfortable at Beit Vegan should Betar fail to break out of its recent rut soon.

Betar Jerusalem's Yuval Naimi 311 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Betar Jerusalem's Yuval Naimi 311
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
With a seven-point cushion from the relegation zone, matters are relatively calm at Betar Jerusalem.
However, things could get pretty uncomfortable at Beit Vegan should Betar fail to break out of its recent rut soon.
As poor as Hapoel Petah Tikva, Hapoel Beersheba, Hapoel Haifa and Hapoel Rishon Lezion have been playing, the four teams beneath Betar in the standings will eventually catch up with it should it continue to win just one in nine matches and lose four of five games as it has done entering Saturday’s encounter against Maccabi Petah Tikva at Teddy Stadium.
Since collecting nine of a possible 12 points to start the season, Betar has picked up just five more points from nine matches.
While losing to reigning-champion Maccabi Haifa and the strong Ironi Kiryat Shmona in its last two matches may be acceptable from Betar in its current state, everyone in Jerusalem recognizes that anything but all three points against Petah Tikva on Saturday will be a bitter disappointment.
“Petah Tikva will look to close down the match, but I hope that we will make the most of our chances in front of goal, something which we haven’t done in our last two games,” said Betar coach Yuval Naim, who will be without injured captain Aviram Bruchian on Saturday.
“We have looked good in our last few matches, but we are missing our chances and conceding easy goals.
Petah Tikva is a team of our level and I don’t even want to think of the possibility of a defeat. We know what type of match we are facing and I hope we can get back to winning ways.”
Kiryat Shmona can leapfrog Hapoel Tel Aviv into first place for at least 48 hours with a win at Hapoel Acre on Saturday.
Kiryat Shmona has won six of its last seven matches, conceding just a single goal in those victories, while also going unbeaten in its last 11 encounters.
Acre had its six-match unbeaten streak broken by a 1-0 defeat at Maccabi Haifa last week.
Also Saturday, the high-flying Ashdod SC goes for its seventh home win in eight matches when it hosts Hapoel Rishon Lezion, while Maccabi Netanya welcomes Hapoel Ramat Hasharon, Bnei Yehuda visits Hapoel Beersheba and Bnei Sakhnin goes to Hapoel Petah Tikva.
Maccabi Tel Aviv will look to snap its three-match losing streak when its visits Hapoel Haifa on Sunday, with Hapoel Tel Aviv to host Maccabi Haifa in a crunch showdown on Monday.