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Beitar Jerusalem: No more side shows

Dov Halickman Photography

Beitar Jerusalem is in third place, absolutely amazing. How did this team that was coming apart at the seams after a disastrous two leg Europa League qualifying series during the summer against Charleroi rebuild itself? Beitar whose owner Eli Tabib had said that he is getting rid of the club, not planning to invest in it and is totally disgusted with its fans wanted out. But somehow he once again is able to nail down the best foreigners, an intelligent coach and find a way to get his youngsters to flourish just in the nick of time.

That’s how Beitar now finds itself in third place right behind Maccabi Tel Aviv after Matchday Nine.

Pretty unbelievable, but true.

Slobodan Drapic

Slobodan Drapic

Head Coach Slobodan Drapic with time has found a way to use the weapons at his disposal to knock off Sakhnin at Doha Stadium, dismantle Maccabi Tel Aviv at Bloomfield Stadium and win a home game at The Moshava in Petach Tikva over the always dangerous Haim Silvas’s side, Hapoel Raanana. That’s how his team is now reaching the heights of the Israeli league.

Nikita Rukavytsya

Nikita Rukavytsya

With owner Tabib nailing once again the foreign players in defender Jesus Rueda and striker Nikota Rukavytsya and receiving fine play by the young captain Omer Atzili, recently promoted David Keltjens and the newly signed Dan Einbinder, Beitar has quickly transformed into a force to be reckoned with.

Putting aside the poor home match against table leader Hapoel Beer Sheva, the Yellow-and-Black have a huge test this coming Sunday when they visit Maccabi Haifa at Sammy Ofer Stadium. With The Greens beginning to show finally some wherewithal they may be a tough out for Beitar especially in front of a crowd of over 30,000. The good news for Beitar is that Haifa ‘keeper Vladimir Stoykovich, Ofir Kriaf and Marc Valiente will not be available for the match due to injury for the former and red cards for the two latter players.

If Beitar can continue its quality play and keep the momentum up there’s no telling where this team will end up. There’s no question that when the January transfer window comes around the necessary adjustments will be made to keep the club near the top as Tabib will want his side to finish in the best possible position. This way he’ll make sure to maximize his revenues that will come in from various sources including ticket sales, the league and TV.

At the end of the day, a healthy Beitar is good for the league no matter what nonsense may surround the team off of the pitch. As long as they continue to produce on it the focus will hopefully remain there, on the actual players and not the sideshows that we have seen time and time again in the past.

Beitar Jerusalem 1:0 Hapoel Raanana

Lidor Cohen scored the lone goal of the match off of a header from a terrific pass by captain Omer Atzili early on in the first half. From there Beitar was able to contain the often lethal Barak Badash and lull Raanana to sleep in the midfield as ‘keeper Boris Klayman was up to the challenge when called upon. Next up for Beitar is Maccabi Haifa at Sammy Ofer Stadium.