Maccabi Haifa can extend its lead atop the Premier League standings to12 points on Monday with a victory at Maccabi Petah Tikva.However,on Sunday, the reigning champion was rocked by the news that gifted18-year-old midfielder Eyal Golasa had flown to Italy without theteam’s permission and agreed to a four-and-a-half year deal with SerieA club S.S. Lazio.Haifa claims the player is under contractwith the Israeli club, but Golasa reportedly believes his agreement ranout when he turned 18 last October. The misunderstanding seems to havecome about due to the fact that Golasa’s mother signed his contract atHaifa as his guardian while he was still a youth player.Thecurrent status of the up-and-coming star is in question and furtherdevelopments are expected on this story in the coming days and weeks.“MaccabiHaifa Football Club takes Eyal Golasa’s behavior very seriously,” theclub wrote in an official statement. “The player has a bindingagreement with the club. The club’s legal advisor Udi Shochatovitch hasbeen put in charge of the matter.”Golasa, who is currentlyinjured and is set to miss the next two months, made his breakthroughlast season, appearing in 27 of Haifa’s 33 Premier League matches andplaying a supporting role in the team’s run to the championship.Golasawas especially impressive in Haifa’s Champions League campaign thisseason, but could now be on his way out of the club just ayear-and-a-half after joining from the Betar Nes Tubrok youth academy. PetahTikva enters Monday’s match in its best form of the season having wonthree of its last four games and drawing 0-0 with Hapoel Tel Aviv.Hapoel will be hoping Petah Tikva can do it a favor on Monday after only managing a 3-3 draw with Maccabi Netanya on Saturday. On Sunday, Ahi Nazareth climbed off the bottom of the standings with a 1-1 draw at Hapoel Ra’anana. JohnGregory’s team played with 10 men from the second minute on after RamiDuani was sent off, but Nazareth took the lead in the 54th minutethrough Yaniv Luzon, only for Steven Cohen to equalize for Ra’ananaseven minutes from time.