Local Soccer: Betar disappoints again at home vs Sakhnin

Jerusalem side showing none of the form that led it to the past two championships.

Betar 248.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Betar 248.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Any hope Betar Jerusalem may have had of still making a serious run at a third consecutive league championship vanished on Monday with the 0-0 draw against Bnei Sakhnin at Teddy Stadium. Betar has now gone six home matches without claiming a victory this season and, after 12 total matches, finds itself some 11 points behind top-of-the-table Maccabi Haifa. Jerusalem's performance on Monday showed just why the team has struggled so desperately this campaign. Betar not only failed to score a goal for the fifth match this season, but also never really threatened to break Sakhnin's resistance. Aviram Bruchian, who has been the only bright spot in an otherwise dark and depressing Betar season, was far from his best on Monday, which at the team's current state is nothing short of a killer blow. Sakhnin came out fighting and Jerusalem couldn't match its opponent's passion and didn't even deserve a point for its lackluster showing. Perhaps the turning point for Betar will come next week when it visits Maccabi Tel Aviv in a showdown between the league's two most disappointing teams. Sakhnin, which moves two points clear of rock-bottom Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan, should have been down to 10-men within the first minute of the match. Mazuwa Nsumbu tackled Amit Ben-Shushan with far too much enthusiasm, but referee Liran Liani decided to spare the Congolese midfielder and settled for a yellow card. The fact that Sakhnin was happy to settle for the draw, combined with the fact that Betar was a shadow of the team which won the championship in the past two seasons, made scoring opportunities a real rarity throughout the encounter. Jerusalem's only real chance of the first half came in the 32nd minute. Ben-Shushan crossed the ball well for Bruchian, but the midfielder was off-form on Monday and could only head the ball weakly towards Sakhnin keeper Meir Cohen. Betar coach Reuven Atar hoped to kick-start his team by making a double substitution at the break. Shimon Gershon replaced the injured David Amsalem and Moshe Ohayon subbed Derek Boateng, but Jerusalem continued to struggle. Betar's one good chance to win the match in the second half came in the 57th minute. Bruchian had plenty of time and space five meters from the Sakhnin goal, but failed to place his shot on target and squandered a golden opportunity to finally end Betar's winless home streak.