|Hapoel Tel Aviv's Toto Tamuz 370.(Photo by: Adi Avishai)|
Hap TA sneaks by Kfar Saba into quarters
By ALLON SINAI
Reds still on track for fourth-straight State Cup title; Ramat Gan, Rishon, K8 all advance.
Hapoel Tel Aviv extended its State Cup unbeaten streak to 17 matches on Tuesday
night, advancing to the quarterfinals with a 1-0 victory at Hapoel Kfar Saba of
the National League.
Toto Tamuz kept alive Hapoel’s dream of winning the
cup for a fourth straight year by scoring the only goal of the match from the
penalty spot in the 68th minute after referee Liran Vaksberger inexplicably
gifted the visitors a spot kick.
There will also be one third division
team in the quarterfinals after Asi Gilboa surprised Hapoel Ashkelon of the
National League, winning 4-2 in a penalty shootout after extra-time ended in a
The first 90 minutes finished in a goalless deadlock and Sultan
Zuabi gave the hosts the lead in the 10th minute of extra-time before Ashkelon’s
Jonathan Assous forced penalties with an equalizer five minutes from the final
However, Ashkelon would miss two of its first four penalty kicks
and Alon Bozurgi secured Gilboa’s progress.
There was plenty more drama
The all-National League showdown between Hapoel Rishon Lezion
and Hapoel Ra’anana also had to be decided on penalties, with Lior Asulin
scoring Rishon’s decisive kick to clinch a 4-3 victory after extra-time ended in
a 2-2 draw.
Hapoel Ramat Gan survived a mighty scare against third
division Hapoel Afula, winning 5-3 in extra-time. The first 90 minutes ended in
a 3-3 draw, but Ran Itzhak completed a hat-trick in extratime stoppage time to
give Ramat Gan a 4-3 lead before Ben Ben-Yair poured salt on Afula’s wounds with
Also Tuesday, Ironi Kiryat Shmona beat Maccabi Yavne 2-0
thanks to goals from Dan Eibinder (24) and Adrian Rochet (26).
remaining quarterfinalists will be determined on Wednesday, with at least two
Premier League teams to be knocked out.
Bnei Lod of the National League
hosts Bnei Sakhnin, but the highlights of the day will be the Haifa derby and
especially the showdown between Maccabi Tel Aviv and Beitar Jerusalem at
Maccabi Haifa enters its meeting with cross-town
rival Hapoel at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium as a firm favorite after winning 12 of
its past 14 Premier League matches.
However, despite remaining in the
relegation zone, Hapoel enters Wednesday’s encounter brimming with confidence
after playing some of its best soccer of the season in recent weeks, winning its
past two league games.
Beitar is just eight points ahead of the
relegation zone after picking up only a single point over its past five league
games and will be looking to resurrect its season with an upset at
The turmoil that followed the signing of Dzhabrail Kadiyev
and Zaur Sadayev from Chechen club Terek Grozny completely derailed Beitar’s
campaign, and the tension at the club was clear for all to see in Monday’s
bust-up between coach Eli Cohen and midfielder Eran Levy.
The two clashed
in training, and not for the first time, following Sunday’s 4-1 humbling at
Maccabi Haifa and Levy will miss Wednesday’s match after being suspended by the
club until he faces a team disciplinary committee on Thursday.