Haifa boss in­sists: We can beat the Old Lady

The Jewish Chronicle - - Sport - BY SI­MON GRIVER

MAC­CABI Haifa boss Elisha Levy be­lieves his team can cause a ma­jor shock when they travel to Turin on Wed­nes­day in the Cham­pi­ons League for a meet­ing with Ju­ven­tus.

First, the Is­raeli cham­pi­ons re­turn to league action against Hapoel Beer Sheva on Satur­day be­fore trav­el­ling to Italy, looking to record their first victory of the Group A cam­paign.

Yet to score in this sea­son’s com­pe­ti­tion, de­feats against Bay­ern Mu­nich and Bor­deaux have left them rooted to the foot of the ta­ble.

Ahead of the visit to the two-time win­ners, Levy said: “This is a team with a mar­vel­lous spirit. We are im­prov­ing from game to game and I be­lieve that we can get a re­sult against Ju­ven­tus.”

De­feat would make it tough for Haifa to re­peat their achieve­ment of 2002, the only other time they played in the Cham­pi­ons League, when they fin­ished third in their group and pro­gressed to the Uefa Cup.

But they will ben­e­fit from the fact that Is­rael man­ager Dror Kash­tan over­looked most of their play­ers for in­ter­na­tional duty, in­clud­ing cap­tain Yaniv Katan, even though Haifa lead the way at the top of Is­rael’s Premier League, where they have a 100 per cent record from five games.

With three points from two games, Hapoel Tel Aviv host Rapid Vi­enna in the Europa League. Hav­ing beaten Celtic in their open­ing match, Hapoel were well beaten in Ham­burg and will be wary of a team that knocked As­ton Villa out of the com­pe­ti­tion and beat Ham­burg in their first group game. Al­though cap­tain Walid Badir is sus­pended, man­ager Eli Gut­man re­mains con­fi­dent of victory. “We will have a top two fin­ish in our sights if we can win this game, and we can win this game.”

A hero at the back in the de­feat by Bor­deaux, Haifa’s Eyal Meshu­mar (left) hopes for bet­ter luck against Ju­ven­tus

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