Local Soccer: Betar gets chance at redemption as it hosts Ramat Gan
In six matches at Teddy this season, J'lem side has drawn five times and lost once, scoring a measly four goals.
By ALLON SINAI
There have been many disappointing aspects to Betar Jerusalem's season, but perhaps the biggest failure of all has been the team's incapacity to win at home.
In the past two seasons the mere thought of playing at Teddy Stadium would instill fear into Betar's opponents, but in the last three months it is the two-time reigning champion which is experiencing a nightmare of a time at home.
In six matches at Teddy this season, Jerusalem has drawn five times and lost once, scoring a measly four goals.
On Saturday, Betar has the perfect opportunity to finally end its barren spell when it hosts rock-bottom Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan.
Hakoach has lost four consecutive matches and Betar defender Shimon Gershon knows there will be no excuse if his team fails to win at Teddy once more.
"We should have won at Teddy long ago, but now we're facing a match which we simply must win at home," Gershon said. "It wasn't pleasant to hear the fans calls in recent matches, but we understand their pain. In a crazy organization likes ours you need to know how to function also in times like these and the best cure for this situation is a victory."
On Friday, Maccabi Netanya can go top of the standings with a home victory against Bnei Sakhnin.
Netanya, which is playing a day early to get some rest ahead of Sunday's friendly match against German club Borussia MÃ¶nchengladbach, has ended its last two matches in goalless draws and can't afford to drop points for a third straight encounter if it hopes to keep pace with Maccabi Haifa.
Haifa only plays on Monday when it visits Bnei Yehuda at Bloomfield Stadium.
Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Maccabi Petah Tikva on Saturday, looking for its second victory in 10 matches. Tel Aviv's last win, over a month ago, also came in Petah Tikva, against Maccabi's arch-rival Hapoel.
Also Saturday, Hapoel Tel Aviv hosts Ironi Kiryat Shmona, which announced on Thursday that Eli Cohen will replace Michel Dayan, who was sacked as coach last week.
Cohen, who guided Betar to the league title in the 1996/97 season, will not guide the team on Saturday and will only take charge at the start of the week.
In other action on Saturday, Hapoel Petah Tikva visits Ashdod SC.
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