Resurgent Maccabi Haifa hopes to continue gaining ground

Haifa had won just one of its previous seven encounters before the streak, losing four times.

Shimon Abu Hazeira 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Shimon Abu Hazeira 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Despite its disastrous start to the season, Maccabi Haifa can close to within just six points of the Premier League standings’ summit with a victory at rock-bottom Bnei Yehuda on Saturday night.
Haifa will be aiming for its fourthstraight victory after Shoval Gozlan’s 86th-minute header gave the Greens a 2-1 triumph over Hapoel Acre on Monday to keep their winning run alive and well.
Haifa had won just one of its previous seven encounters before the streak, losing four times and failing to score a goal in five of those matches.
However, it finally seems to have found its stride, climbing up to fourth place with the victory over Acre, and will be optimistic of continuing to make up lost ground when it visits Bloomfield Stadium on Saturday.
Bnei Yehuda dropped to the foot of the table following last week’s 1-0 loss at Hapoel Ramat Hasharon and will be guided on Saturday by goalkeeping coach Ya’akov Asayag and fitness coach Dror Shimshon following Dror Kashtan’s resignation on Sunday.
Bnei Yehuda has lost eight of its past 10 matches, picking up just two of a possible 30 points.
Hapoel Beersheba will be hoping to continue the see-saw at the top of the standings with Maccabi Tel Aviv when it travels to Hapoel Haifa on Saturday.
Maccabi doesn’t visit Beitar Jerusalem – which will be guided by assistant coach David Amsalem following the firing of Eli Cohen – until Sunday night, meaning Beersheba can leapfrog the yellow-and-blue into first place, at least for 24 hours, with a win at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.
Beersheba has won three of four games, while Haifa has slid all the way down to eighth place after losing three straight matches following a promising start to the campaign.
“Prior to those three loses, Hapoel Haifa beat Maccabi Haifa in the derby before giving Maccabi Tel Aviv a very tough time,” said Beersheba coach Elisha Levy.
“We mustn’t forget that we are facing a strong team. When you are near the top of the standings you can’t afford to drop many points. Our first goal is to finish the regular season in the top six and that will not be easy as the table is very tight and many teams are battling for a place in the championship playoffs.”
Also Saturday, Hapoel Acre hosts Ironi Kiryat Shmona, Maccabi Petah Tikva visits Hapoel Ramat Hasharon and Hapoel Ra’anana welcomes Bnei Sakhnin.
Hapoel Tel Aviv hosts Ashdod SC on Monday.