Maccabi Tel Aviv striker Vidar Orn Kjartansson (left) battles Bnei Yehuda defender Tal Kahila during last night’s State Cup final at Teddy Stadium. The match entered extra time after the first 90 minutes ended in a 0-0 draw.
(photo credit: DANNY MAARON)
The State Cup final between Maccabi Tel Aviv and Bnei Yehuda at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem was the focus of Israeli soccer on Thursday night.
The final ended after press time, with extra time being required following a goalless first 90 minutes.
Thursday was also a busy day off the pitch, with two of Israel’s biggest clubs making significant signings.
Dan Einbinder agreed to a three-year contract with Hapoel Beersheba on Thursday, leaving Beitar Jerusalem which he captained this season. The 28-yearold Israel international started in 33 of Beitar’s 36 league matches in 2016/17, but negotiations regarding a contract extension never took off.
“I’m very happy to be joining the champion,” said Einbinder, who did his best to make his departure from Beitar amicable.
“I’d like to first of all thank everyone connected with Beitar - starting with owner Eli Tabib, the coaching staff, club staff and the fans - you were a warm and loving home. Now I face a big challenge at Hapoel Beersheba and I will do everything to succeed.
It is always fun to play at Turner Stadium and I’m happy that it will become my home.”
Beitar thanked Einbinder in a statement before claiming that it couldn’t meet his financial demands. “Dan is an important and valued player, and the club and the owner wanted to see Dan continue with the team. But due to the market forces, and according to the club’s policy, there is no justification in paying a salary which deviates from the club’s balanced and restrained budget.”
Beersheba’s next Israeli target in the transfer market is Omer Atzili.
The 23-year-old appeared in only nine matches for Granda CF in Spain’s La Liga this season after joining from Beitar Jerusalem last year.
Beersheba, which would like Atzili as a replacement for the injured Maor Buzaglo, faces a fight from Maccabi Tel Aviv for the forward’s services.
Meanwhile, Hapoel Tel Aviv selected the man it is hoping will guide it back to the Premier League next season, naming Moti Ivanir as the new head coach on Thursday.
Menahem Koretzki was fired by Hapoel after the team was relegated to the National League in the final weekend of the league campaign.
Koretzki replaced Guy Luzon in January, a few weeks after the team was deducted nine points for going into administration before being purchased by the Nisanov ownership group.
Hapoel will be playing in the second division for just the second time in its history and the first since the 1989/90 season.
“I’m very happy to be joining Hapoel Tel Aviv. I think it is a huge challenge to try and bring the club back to the place it deserves to be in,” said Ivanir, who began this season at Ironi Kiryat Shmona but left in October after a poor run of results.
“This won’t be easy because the National League is a difficult league.”
In the cup final, both teams struggled to reach chances in the first half, with Maccabi midfielder Eyal Golasa coming closest to finding the back of the net when his powerful shot went just wide of the upright.
The second half was slightly livelier, with Bnei Yehuda also creating several chances to break the deadlock. However, neither team managed to score and the match went into extra time.
Maccabi entered Thursday as a massive favorite, aiming to win its second cup in three years.
Maccabi became just the second team since 1983 to play in three straight finals, joining the Hapoel Tel Aviv sides which lifted the cup three years in a row between 2010 and 2012.
Bnei Yehuda was playing in its first State Cup final since 2010, with the club targeting a third cup triumph in its history and a first since 1981. Bnei Yehuda last claimed a significant title in 1990 when it won its one and only championship.