Hapoel Beersheba forward Anthony Nwakaeme couldn’t help his team avoid a shocking State Cup exit in the round of 16 at the hands of Ironi Kiryat Shmona at Turner Stadium last night..
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Beersheba’s dream of claiming the local treble ended in surprise fashion on Tuesday night with a 2-1 defeat to Ironi Kiryat Shmona in the State Cup round of 16 at Turner Stadium.
Beersheba was looking to join the Maccabi Tel Aviv side of 2014/15 as the only teams to claim the championship, State Cup and Toto Cup in a single season, with the reigning champion already securing the latter title earlier in the campaign.
A second straight championship seemed like a forgone conclusion when Beersheba held a 10-point gap at the top several weeks ago. However, Maccabi closed within six points on Sunday to breath new life into the title race, and Beersheba’s season took another turn for the worse with an unexpected loss to Kiryat Shmona.
Brazilian striker Mauricio gave the visitors a shock lead with a stunning effort from the edge of the area with the clock showing just three minutes.
Beersheba equalized with the final kick of the first half when Maor Melikson scored with a free-kick from 20 meters out.
But Beersheba was far from its best on Tuesday and Mauricio scored from close range in the 71st minute to give the northerners a memorable victory.
In the day’s other all-Premier League encounter, Maccabi Petah Tikva defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv 2-0. Mihai Roman (49) and Guy Melamed (76) scored for Petah Tikva.
Also Tuesday, Hapoel Haifa defeated Hapoel Rishon Lezion of the National League 3-0 through goals from Hanan Maman (11, 52) and Adilson Bahia (89). Hapoel Ramat Gan claimed a 4-3 win in a penalty shootout against Hapoel Jerusalem in the only all-National League tie of the round after extra time ended in a 0-0 draw.
Sports director Jordi Cruyff will guide Maccabi Tel Aviv yet again when it visits Hapoel Ra’anana on Wednesday, looking to extend his perfect record at the helm to five wins from five matches over all competitions.
Cruyff stepped into Shota Arveladze’s shoes following the Georgian’s sacking earlier this month and Maccabi has played some of its best soccer of the season under his guidance, including in a 2-1 win over Bnei Sakhnin on Sunday.
Sakhnin aims to bounce back from the defeat to Maccabi, its first in the league after eight matches, when it visits Beitar Jerusalem at Teddy Stadium on Wednesday.
Also Wednesday, Hapoel Ashkelon welcomes Bnei Yehuda and Ashdod SC faces Beitar Tel Aviv/Ramle of the second division.