OLIM FOOTBALLThe latest round of action in the Sports Direct Olim League sees Jaffa host Jerusalem in the match of the day…

ASHDOD (7th) vs ENGLAND FC (4th)

Both sides go into this fixture a few places below where they feel they ought to be. As the league approaches the halfway mark, former champs England FC find themselves eight points off the pace at the top, running the risk of finishing outside the top three for the first time in their history.

Ashdod for their part have finished in mid-table comfort the past few years, and like their counterparts, are having a below par season by their standards, missing their top scorer from the past few years.

Ashdod are looking to avoid a third straight loss and avoid being sucked into a possible relegation battle, should the league expand to two divisions next year.

England FC are on a three-game unbeaten run, where they have tightened things up at the back. However, this three-game run has only seen one victory, and they have only managed to find the net three times in their past four games.

Previous encounters between these two veterans of the Olim league have been close low scoring affairs, and this ought to prove no different. Last season honours were even, with each side taking three points.

Both side’s leading marksmen have gone slightly off the boil in recent weeks, and this tie could very well be decided by which ever one rekindles their early season form.

Leading Scorers:
Ashdod: Shmouel Darmon 6
England FC: Gaby Balulu 6

Dangermen:
Almog Kaminski (Ashdod); Liran Sinai (England FC)

Form:
Ashdod: LLWLL
England FC: LLWDD

Prediction:
Ashdod 1 v England FC 2

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JAFFA (5th) vs JERUSALEM (2nd)

Match of the day sees the two tightest defences lock horns in Jaffa. With league leaders Ra’anana not playing this week, Jerusalem have the chance to close the gap to three points. If they are to do so, they will need to raise their performance from last week, as Jaffa away, is one of the hardest fixtures in the calendar.

After finishing second-bottom last season, former cup winners Jaffa have regrouped, and have been very hard to break down, looking a good bet for at least a top-four finish this year.

Jaffa are scoring goals from all over the park, and with no real weaknesses, Jerusalem will be hard pushed to get a positive result here.

Jerusalem will keep fighting to the end, and which ever side comes out on top may prove to be the side giving Ra’anana the closest run for their money, as they search for their first title in Olim football.

Jaffa will be looking to set a club record of a third successive game without any bookings, and if they can avoid the self destruct button, they will push Jerusalem all the way.

Leading Scorers:
Jaffa: Josh Bar, Daniel Berkely and Rani Madmon (all 4)
Jerusalem: Zack Lewis 9, Moishe Lewis 8

Dangermen:
Josh Bar (Jaffa), Moishe Lewis (Jerusalem)

Form:
Jaffa: LWLWD
Jerusalem: WWDWW

Prediction:
Jaffa 1 v Jerusalem 1

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RAINBALL TEL AVIV (9th) vs MODI’IN (8th)

One thing is guaranteed for at least one of these sides, in that they will record their first points of the season.

Both sides go into this bottom of the table clash impotent up front having lost every game this season, though Modi’in can at least lay claim to having a tighter defence.

Last week, Rainball took the lead against runaway leaders Ra’anana, before their typical second half collapse, where the goals poured in, with the back line leaking seven goals or more for the fourth time in six games.

If Modi’in’s strikers ever had a chance to wake up and kick start their season, this is the game. However, they should treat their opponents with respect, as in spite of having by far the weakest defensive record this season, Rainball have managed to take the lead against the league’s top two sides, finishing the half level before the familiar second half deluge. Should they find that little bit extra stamina, Rainball could leave their experienced opposition red faced.

The loser of this first meeting between the sides will be a virtual certainty for relegation should the league expand next year, so both sides will be eager to out fox the other, and turn around what has been a very disappointing season so far for both.

Experience may tell, and the feeling is that an underperforming Modi’in will have a few points to prove, after their highest finish last season.

Leading Scorers:
Rainball Tel Aviv: Noam Siluk 2
Modi’in: Matan Kroizer 2

Dangermen:
Ran Nehoray Hen (Rainball TA); David Dimos (Modi’in)

Form:
Rainball Tel Aviv: LLLLL
Modi’in: LLLLL

Prediction:
Rainball TA 1 v Modi’in 3

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REAL ATHLETICO JERUSALEM (3rd) vs INTER TEL AVIV (6th)

Inter Tel Aviv return to the scene of last week’s defeat at the hands of former champs Jerusalem, where their four-game unbeaten run ended in emphatic fashion.

Inter will be hoping to start a new run and climb back above their hosts who have slid under the radar, to climb back into the top three, just one place and one point behind their illustrious neighbours with whom they ground-share.

Real Athletico have been impressive this season, scoring goals for fun as they have beaten all opposition, except for the two sides who sit above them in the table.

If Inter are to challenge for a top-three place in their inaugural season, one feels they will have to get something out of this game.

This ought to be a good exhibition of high tempo football as both sides have quality throughout their ranks, each looking to usurp a top-three place from an under-performing England FC.

Leading Scorers:
Real Athletico Jerusalem: Jackie Duek 8, Meni Duek 7
Inter Tel Aviv: Emanuel Scholtz 5

Dangermen:
Aron Alimi (Real Athletico); Omri Elani (Inter TA)

Form:
Real Athletico: LWWLW
Inter TA: WWWDL

Prediction:
Real Athletico Jerusalem 3 v Inter Tel Aviv 3