Mac TA kicks off Israeli soccer season

The Israeli Premier League gets underway tomorrow with a less than regular schedule. Only two games - Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Bnei Yehuda and Maccabi Haifa vs Ashdod SC - will be played on Saturday, partly due to the participation three Israeli teams played in the UEFA Cup on Thursday. Some 13,000 Maccabi Tel Aviv supporters are expected to paint Bloomfield Stadium yellow on Saturday afternoon. The big game of the week is Sunday's Bnei Sakhnin vs Betar Jerusalem match to be played at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium in Haifa. Also on Sunday, Maccabi Petah Tikva hosts Maccabi Netanya in each team's season opener. On Monday, Hakoach Ramat Gan hosts Hapoel Tel Aviv and newly promoted Hapoel Petah Tikva visits Ironi Kiryat Shmona. Last season, of course, Betar Jerusalem cruised to their second consecutive title. On the eve of the season's start, however, every team has the same record and ample reason for optimism. All games are to be broadcast on Sport 1 aside from the Sakhnin game which will be live on Channel 10 at 8:50 p.m. on Sunday.