Maccabi Tel Aviv winger Tal Ben-Haim scored the only goal of last night’s 1-0 win over Maccabi Petah Tikva in the first leg of the State Cup quarterfinals.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv took a significant step towards the State Cup semifinals on Wednesday night, but ended the 1-0 win over Maccabi Petah Tikva in the first leg with a bittersweet feeling after Tal Ben-Haim missed a penalty in the 90th minute.
Ben-Haim came on as a substitute in the 72nd minute and scored a stunning opener with a solo effort four minutes later. The winger also drew a penalty after being brought down by Petah Tikva goalkeeper Danny Amos, but the stopper would have the last laugh, saving the penalty to keep Petah Tikva in the tie.
Tel Aviv hosts the second leg in three weeks.
“It was a difficult game,” said Maccabi sports director and interim coach Jordi Cruyff. “In the end I’m happy with the goal we managed to score after a tight match, but it is disappointing we didn’t make it 2-0. It is a good win, but for sure the tie isn’t finished yet.”
Petah Tikva coach Kobi Refua, who was handed a two-year contract extension on Tuesday, believes his team can still advance to the last four.
“Maccabi deserved to win, but this tie is still not over,” said Refua.
“We are already looking ahead to our match against Tel Aviv in Premier League action on Monday.”
Bnei Yehuda all but secured its place in the semifinals on Wednesday, beating Ashdod SC 4-1 on the road.
Lucio’s equalizer (24) for Ashdod had canceled out Tal Kahila’s ninth-minute opener, but three goals in the second half from Yonatan Cohen (59), Almog Buzaglo (75) and Pedro Galvan (87) gave Bnei Yehuda a huge lead ahead of the second leg.
“I’m delighted with the way we played,” said Bnei Yehuda coach Nissan Yehezkel. “This is what the real Bnei Yehuda should look like. This is a significant advantage and we need to be really stupid to lose a lead like this.”
Ashdod coach Roni Aouate couldn’t explain his team’s collapse.
“We capitulated in the second half,” said Aouate. “It was one of those days when everything goes against you and Bnei Yehuda made the most of it.”Also Wednesday, the only remaining National League side, Hapoel Ramat Gan, drew 1-1 with Hapoel Haifa. Eden Ben-Basat scored the opener for Haifa in the 75th minute, but Israel Rosh equalized for the visitors three minutes later and Ramat Gan will be confident of progressing to the last four when it hosts the second leg.
“We have a second leg in a month and we know how to score on the road and we will be fine,” said Haifa coach Danny Golan.
In the first quarterfinal on Tuesday, Beitar Jerusalem defeated Ironi Kiryat Shmona 2-0 at Teddy Stadium. Beitar impressed in its first match under the helm of new coach Sharon Mimer, who replaced Ran Ben-Shimon on Monday. Beitar will look to build some momentum when it hosts Hapoel Ra’anana in Premier League action on Saturday with Mimer believing the team still has plenty of more room for improvement.
“I only had one training session with the squad so I hope I can have a bigger influence ahead of our next match,” said Mimer.
Wednesday’s results: State Cup quarterfinals first leg: Hapoel Haifa 1, Hapoel Ramat Gan 1; Ashdod SC 1, Bnei Yehuda 4; Maccabi Petah Tikva 0, Maccabi Tel Aviv 1