Local Soccer: State Cup last 16 all set to kick off

Mac Kabilio Jaffa’s Cinderella cup run seems all but certain to come to an end when it hosts Hap TA.

March 23, 2010 10:21
1 minute read.
Hapoel Tel Aviv's Itai Shechter

hapoel tel aviv itai shechter 311. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)

Maccabi Kabilio Jaffa’s Cinderella State Cup run seems all but certain to come to an end on Tuesday when it hosts Hapoel Tel Aviv in the last 16 at the Superland Stadium in Rishon Lezion.

Jaffa became the first fourth division club in 47 years to reach the last 16 of the cup last month after stunning National League leader Ironi Kiryat Shmona 1-0 in the round of 32.

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However, with Tel Aviv experiencing its best season in many years and seemingly scoring at will against many Premier League opponents, Jaffa will have to record the biggest surprise in Israeli soccer history if it is to reach the quarterfinals.

Jaffa ’keeper Gabi Burstein, who is also Hapoel’s goalkeeping coach, is still a doubt for the match. Tel Aviv has told Burstein that he should not play, but Jaffa is still hoping the goalkeeper will start, leaving Burstein to make the very difficult decision.

Hapoel assistant coach Yossi Abuksis, who also plays for the amateur Jaffa team, will miss the match and will be on the Tel Aviv sideline.

Tel Aviv coach Eli Gutman will make several changes to the team which beat Hapoel Haifa 2-1 on Saturday, but will still be naming a strong lineup.

“We need to take the match seriously and we can’t afford to be complacent,” Gutman said.

Three more last 16 matches will be played on Tuesday, with a Premier League team facing a National League side in each one of them. Bnei Yehuda hosts Hapoel Ashkelon, Maccabi Petah Tikva visits Bnei Lod and Hapoel Petah Tikva welcomes Hapoel Upper Nazareth.

Four more teams will progress to the quarters on Wednesday.

The most hotly contested encounter is expected to be played at Teddy Stadium where two-time defending cup holder Betar Jerusalem hosts Maccabi Tel Aviv.

In two more all Premier League ties, Maccabi Haifa visits Hapoel Ramat Gan and Ashdod SC hosts Bnei Sakhnin.

Also Wednesday, Ironi Ramat Hasharon welcomes Hapoel Beersheba.

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