Local Soccer: Confident Betar hosts Mac PT

Captain believes defending champion will continue its recent revival.

betar jerusalem 298.88 (photo credit: www.beitar-jerusalem.net)
betar jerusalem 298.88
(photo credit: www.beitar-jerusalem.net)
Betar Jerusalem captain David Amsalem believes the two-time defending champion will continue its recent revival when it hosts Maccabi Petah Tikva at Teddy Stadium on Saturday. Jerusalem's 2-1 win at Maccabi Netanya on Monday was its second straight league victory and Amsalem is confident the team can finally claim its first home win of the season on Saturday. "The atmosphere around the team is excellent at the moment. Everyone is smiling now that we've overcome our difficult start to the season," the defender said on Thursday. "The match at Netanya was a declaration of intent. I think that teams are starting to fear Betar once more." Netanya goes to Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Saturday, looking to rebound from its first league loss of the season. Lothar Matthaus's team looked out of its depth for most of the match against Betar and the German coach will be hoping his side can show the character needed to claim the league title, and overcome last week's disappointment with a victory on the road. Last week, Maccabi Haifa was in an almost identical situation to Netanya and could only manage a 1-1 draw with Kiryat Shmona, a week after falling to Netanya for its first defeat of the campaign. On Saturday, Haifa visits Hapoel Petah Tikva and, despite the recent disappointments, coach Elisha Levy claims his team feels no pressure. "We're entering the match after collecting just one point in two games, but there's no pressure at Maccabi Haifa," he said. "The most important thing is that we improve our defensive play and when that happens we will return to winning ways." Also Saturday, Ashdod SC hosts Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan and Bnei Sakhnin visits Bnei Yehuda. On Monday, Hapoel Tel Aviv hosts Maccabi Tel Aviv in the much anticipated derby match.