PREVIEW: WEEKEND ISRAELI ACTION
On Saturday, Bryan Gerzicich and league leaders Hapoel Kiryat Shmona return home to face Hapoel Ashkelon, while Leo Krupnik and Maccabi Netanya face Hapoel Haifa at Sar-Tov Stadium in Netanya.
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona - Hapoel Ashkelon
Coming off an impressive 4-1 thrashing of Hapoel Haifa on the road, first place Hapoel Kiryat Shmona will return home to their small city in the northernmost point of Israel where they will take on eighth place Hapoel Ashkelon on Saturday at Kiryat Shmona Municipal Stadium.
American central midfielder Bryan Gerzicich is once again likely to start for the league leaders where he has played every minute for his club this season.
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona are lead by forward Wiyam Amashe who has taken the Israeli Premier League by storm with a league leading seven goal through the first six games.
The high-powered offense of Kiryat Shmona has also been bolstered by 21 year old Israeli international Elroy Cohen and Zambian winger William Njovu. The club have amassed 16 goals on the year which is more than any other team in the league.
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona also announced this past week that head coach Ran Ben Shimon has been awarded a two year contract extension which will keep him running the club through 2013.
Hapoel Ashkelon enters the game with eight points through six games as they come off consecutive scoreless draws.
Despite the scoring woes, Hapoel Ashkeon do have significant offensive weapons in Eran Levi and Ghanaian forward Eric Gawu who each have three goals on the season.
Hapoel Ashkelon will be without forward Mahmood Abass who injured his back this week. Serbian defender Darko Lovric is questionable after falling ill this week.
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona are not reporting any major injuries.
Maccabi Netanya - Hapoel Haifa
After coming off a dramatic victory last week against Hapoel Ramat Gan, Maccabi Netanya will look to continue their momentum when they host Hapoel Haifa on Saturday at Sar-Tov Stadium.
American central defender Leo Krupnik is likely to start for Maccabi Netanya where he has played every minute for the club this season.
In last weekend's thriller, Maccabi Netanya were in control of the game against Hapoel Ramat Gan but were only able to find the net in the last minute of injury time when Georgian forward Gaga Chkhetiani sent in a cross that Achmad Saba'a was able to head home off a terrific individual effort.
Maccabi Netanya now sit in fourth place with 11 points through six games.
Maccabit Netanya will be without midfielder Ofir Amram who broke his ankle in the game against Ramat Gan and could miss up to five months.
Hapoel Haifa will enter the game following a crushing 4-1 loss at home to first place Hapoel Kiryat Shmona. It was the third consecutive defeat for the Sharks who have fallen to seventh place with nine points on six games.
Hapoel Haifa is led by Serbian forward Saša Stojanović who has started all five games so far and scored three times.
For Hapoel Haifa, there was bad news this week when a fight broke out at practice between midfielders Hanan Maman and Ran Abukarat and head coach Nitzan Shirazi has said that suspensions are likely but he has not made his final decision as to how he will handle the matter.
The news is better for Hapoel Haifa on another front as they will welcome back forward Eden Ben Basat who will return to action following a three game suspension.
American defender Ryan Adeleye will hope make his second consecutive start for tenth place Hapoel Be'er Sheva on Saturday when they host Hapoel Petah Tikva at Vasermil Stadium. The New Jerseyan made his first start of the season last week for the club in a match that was suspended in the second half because of crowd violence. It was 3-3 at the time the match was waived off. Hapoel Be'er Sheva were awarded a 3-0 victory.