Bnei Yehuda, Hap TA seek glory in State Cup final

Hapoel coach Dror Kashtan will attempt to win his sixth cup as a coach as a farewell from his team.

May 9, 2006 06:04
2 minute read.

The last title of the 2005/2006 season will be up for grabs on Tuesday night when Hapoel Tel Aviv and Bnei Yehuda battle for the right to lift this season's State Cup at the National Stadium in Ramat Gan. A win in the final will hold a special importance for both teams for two very different reasons. Hapoel coach Dror Kashtan, who is set to leave the club at the end of the season and take charge of the national team, will attempt to win his sixth cup as a coach and would like nothing more then to mark his farewell from club soccer with a title. Hapoel has yet to concede a goal in its four matches on the way to the final and Kashtan will hope for one more clean-sheet from his defense to boost his teams‚ chances. Cross town rivals Bnei Yehuda has no intention of being a party decoration in Kashtan's farewell celebration and after going 25 years without a State Cup the team from south Tel Aviv will show no sympathy for the Hapoel coach. The game will be a rematch of the 1981 final which Bnei Yehuda won after a penalty shoot-out. Most of Bnei Yehuda's players weren't even born when their team last won the cup and after beating champions Maccabi Haifa in the semifinal, anything short of a victory will be a disappointment. Both teams have had a successful league season with Hapoel securing second spot and European qualification over the weekend and Bnei Yehuda only needing a single point from its last league game to guarantee fourth spot and European soccer next year via the Intertoto Cup. Either way, a win on Tuesday night will assure the team a place in next years UEFA Cup. "I don't want to say it's now or never, but a club like Bnei Yehuda doesn't reach the final every year," coach Nitzan Shirazi said at Mondays training session. "There's an excellent feeling around the team and we all know that the most important thing is tomorrows‚ game." Bnei Yehuda, who won its only other cup in 1968, has lost to Hapoel in all three of their league meetings this season without scoring a single goal. "Hapoel is a better team and that's no secret, but Maccabi Haifa was also a better side and we overcame them," Shirazi said on Monday. Both coaches will have a full squad to pick from and both the teams will feel confident of adding silverware to their trophy cabinets. Hapoel captain Shimon Gershon will be hoping to lift his teams sixth ever State Cup and to aid Hapoel to its first major title since 2000. "Lifting the cup is an unforgettable feeling and I'm very excited ahead of the match," he said on Monday. "I hope we can win the trophy for Kashtan."

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