Hapoel boss Luzon hopes to add to Spurs’ woes
UEFA CUP Under-fire Hapoel Tel Aviv coach Guy Luzon will try to save his job and kickstart the team’s season when they host Spurs in the latest group stage game next Thursday.
Neither team has had the perfect preparation for a game expected to attract 16,000 fans to the Bloomfield Stadium. Spurs, who were unable to sell their 700-ticket allotment to season ticket holders or members, lost manager Martin Jol after last week’s 2-1 home defeat against Getafe and suffered a similar defeat in the Premier League against Blackburn Rovers on Sunday, under the gaze of new boss Juande Ramos.
Hapoel slumped to a 2-0 defeat in Belgium to Anderlecht in Europe and lost 2-0 at home to Ashdod in a domestic league competition they have yet to win in this season.
Most Israeli pundits predict it is a matter of time before Hapoel’s recent- ly appointed manager, the nephew of Israel FA President Avi Luzon, is axed.
After the Anderlecht defeat, Luzon told a press conference that he thought Hapoel deserved a draw. When an Israeli journalist asked how he could say that, when Hapoel had not created a single chance, the 31-year-old walked out. The fans were also calling for his head after the defeat against Ashdod.
Hapoel chairman Moni Harel said: “We are not going through a very good time in the league but that does not mean that we won’t beat Spurs. Even with their problems, Spurs are a superb team but Hapoel have a tradition of beating top European teams.
“I know the players will give everything and, if we can beat Spurs, I’m sure we’ll start winning in the Israeli league too.”
Luzon inherited a squad which is a far cry from Dror Kashtan’s side that reached the quarter-finals of the competition in 2002, disposing of Chelsea en route.
Israeli official Alon Yefet has been confirmed as a referee in the fourth round Champions League group stage matches next week.
The 35-year-old from Netanya, who is a customer account manager with the Israel Electric Corporation, became the first Israeli to referee a Champions League game in November 2005 when he officiated in Club Brugges 3-2 victory over Rapid Vienna. Yefet has refereed more than 50 European and international matches over the past five years.