betar jerusalem 298.88.
(photo credit: www.beitar-jerusalem.net)
The State Cup eighth-finals provided a pair of the biggest upsets in recent memory, with two Premier League superpowers being humbled by National League clubs.
Luis Fernandez's Betar Jerusalem produced yet another lackluster performance at Teddy Stadium and bowed out, falling to Uri Malmilian's Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan.
"I love the crowd here and you can see that the feeling is mutual," Malmilian, a former Betar star, commented after the win. "But we showed that we can beat any team on our day. Our goalkeeper was idle all game and we did our job in impressive fashion."
Ton Caanen's credit at Maccabi Tel Aviv is running out. The State Cup holder was spectacularly upset by Hapoel Acre at Bloomfield Stadium.
Saturday's scheduled match between Maccabi Kafr Kanna and Bnei Yehuda was postponed following violent incidents at Nazareth's Basilica of the Annunciation Friday evening.
Betar Jerusalem 0, Hakoach Ramat Gan 1
Fernandez decided to rest Fabrice Fernandez and David Aganzo and promoted Omri Afek to the starting lineup against a team having a mediocre season in the National League.
But the visitors perfectly implemented a defensive game plan and also didn't hesitate to send players ahead for the occasional counterattack. Former Hapoel Petah Tikva star Yossi Rozen was dominant in midfield and marked Jerome Leroy in impressive fashion.
After 89 goalless minutes, when it seemed like the match was heading towards an extra period and possibly a penalty shootout to decide the winner, Rozen set up Mor Golan, who sent in a sharp shot that stunned the hosts.
The yellow-and-black came ahead and tried to find the equalizer in the remaining minutes, but failed in attack and surrendered to the visitors from Ramat Gan.
"It was just a shameful performance," Fernandez told reporters after the game. "I am not disappointed by the team's performance, but it hurts to disappoint our wonderful fans."
Maccabi Tel Aviv 0, Hapoel Acre 4
The humble team from the North opened with an attacking formation and the gamble paid off quickly.
Patty Nimba took control of the ball in the box and hammered in the ball to the top corner to give Acre a surprise lead in the 11th minute.
Tel Aviv found itself in dire straights when Alex Levit slipped through the yellowand-blue defense and netted Acre's second just two minutes later.
All hopes of a second-half Tel Aviv comeback were put to rest by Allon Ziv, who coolly headed in a Kobi Hasan cross in the 47th minute. Bernard Hagen added to Maccabi's misery in the 69th minute.
"This is the worst day in my career as football coach," said a stunned Caanen to reporters after the game. "I will talk with my players and we shall see what can be done."
Ashdod SC 0, Hapoel Tel Aviv 3
Shai Abutbul gave the reds the lead in the 54th minute with a strong kick from 25 meters, which rolled into the goal after it was mishandled by Sammy Adjei.
Dror Kashtan's team doubled its lead when Elyaniv Barda elegantly glanced the ball in after good work by Ibazito Ogabuna on the right flank.
Substitute Ilya Yevorian took full advantage of another blunder by the Ashdod defense to make it 3-0 in the 84th minute.
Maccabi Herzliya 2, Maccabi Petah Tikva 2 (Maccabi Petah Tikva advances after winning a penalty shootout 13-12)
On Friday, Herzliya struck first in the sixth minute with a surprise Aliso Ecko header after a swift counterattack from the right flank. Shahdu Davies was sent off in the 45th minute. Petah Tikva displayed it's attacking prowess in the second half and finally found the equalizer in the 71st minute when Brazilian Andrei Caldeira was in place to score from close range after being set up by Salim Toema. The game entered a 30-minute extra period after the teams were deadlocked at 1-1 after 90 minutes of play, and the goals kept coming.
Herzliya's Shai Biton was sent off in the 108th minute, but substitute Ohad Kadusi broke the visitor's offside trap to score against all odds and give his team the 2-1 lead in the 114th minute.
But Toema was on target just two minutes later to dramatically level the score and force a penalty shootout.
The penalty battle provided a dramatic finish after Herzliya goalkeeper Shaul Smadja missed his spot kick with the score 13-12 in favor of the visitors.
In other State Cup matches over the weekend, it was: Hapoel Marmorek 0, Hapoel Kfar Saba 1; and Ironi Ramat Hasharon 1, Bnei Sakhnin 3.
On TV: Hapoel Beersheba vs Maccabi Haifa, 6:50 p.m. (live on Channel 10).