Just when Betar Jerusalem fans thought matters couldn’t get any worse, they did
on Tuesday night.
With two straight Premier League defeats leaving it
just two points above the relegation zone, Betar was hoping Tuesday’s visit to
Bnei Lod in the last 32 of the State Cup would prove to be a pleasant
distraction from its recent struggles.
However, Jerusalem’s crisis only
deepened at Haberfeld Stadium in Rishon Lezion where Lod hosted the game, with
the yellow-and-black suffering a shock cup exit after losing 4-3 in a penalty
shootout, with extra time ending in a 0-0 deadlock.
Tensions were running
high long before the kickoff at Rishon after impetuous Lod chairman Abu Subhi
called Betar fans “disgusting racists” and spoke of his hopes of not only
knocking out Jerusalem, but of also seeing the club relegated.
its chances to answer Abu Subhi on the pitch on Tuesday, but Lod, which has gone
unbeaten in its last 10 second division matches and is tied with league-leader
Hapoel Ramat Gan, held on thanks to a combination of good fortune and fortitude
before clinching a sweet victory in a penalty shootout.
At 1-1 in the
shootout, Andriy Pylyavskyi missed for Betar, but Murad Abu Anza, the leading
scorer in the National League, also failed to net Lod’s subsequent kick and the
score remained tied.
After both teams scored their next two kicks, Dario
Fernandez stepped up to take Betar’s fifth attempt, but he shot poorly and Amar
Mansour slotted in the winning penalty to send Lod fans into delirium.
always believed we could win,” Lod coach Sliman Azbarga said. “I kept telling my
players that this isn’t the Betar of 3-4 years ago. We played the right way and
deserved to progress.”
There was much speculation Betar coach Yuval Naim
would be sent packing should his team lose to Lod, but he sounded convinced he
would be on the sidelines when Jerusalem visits Hapoel Ramat Hasharon in league
action on Saturday.
“We reached enough chances to finish the game and
this is a real pity,” Naim said. “I’m not going anywhere. I will do everything
so that this club will remain in the Premier League. We need to be strong. We
are going through a rough period.
“For two months people have been saying
I’m on my way out, but as far as I’m concerned I’m staying.”
another massive upset on Tuesday, with National League side Hapoel Jerusalem
knocking out Maccabi Tel Aviv with a 1-0 victory after extra time at Teddy
Mati Avraham scored the only goal of the match in the 108th
minute and Maccabi’s already miserable season got a whole lot
There was plenty of drama elsewhere as well on Tuesday, with four
more matches going to extra time.
Hapoel Beersheba advanced to the last
16 after a nail-biting encounter at Vasermil Stadium, winning 4-1 in penalties
after 120 minutes ended in a 3-3 draw.
Beersheba came back from a goal
down twice in regulation, with Shalev Menashe (22) and Dino Ndlovu (45) scoring
for Bnei Yehuda and Dovev Gabai (31) and Yossi Shivhon (64) equalizing for the
Ido Eksbard gave Beersheba the lead in the 105th minute,
converting the rebound from his saved penalty.
However, Bnei Yehuda never
gave up, with Pini Balili (114) sending the tie into penalties.
shootout was no where near as close as the match itself, with Bnei Yehuda
failing to score its first three attempts, allowing Ofir Davidzada to clinch
In the day’s second all-Premier League showdown,
Maccabi Petah Tikva beat Bnei Sakhnin 2-0 thanks to goals from Omer Golan (50)
and Mario Carevic (55).
Maccabi Netanya survived a scare on Tuesday,
beating Ness Tziona 2-1 after extra time, with Ahmed Saba scoring the winning
goal in the 94th minute after Ness Tziona’s Maoz Samiya (29) canceled out Nir
Nahum’s 11thminute opener.
Also Tuesday, Maccabi Herzliya beat Givat Olga
1-0, Hapoel Ramat Gan defeated Kfar Kassem SC 3-2, Upper Nazareth won 2-1 at Asi
Gilboa, Hapoel Kfar Saba advanced with a 4-2 victory in penalties over Betar Tel
Aviv/Ramle (2-2 after extra time) and Maccabi Umm el-Fahem beat Hapoel Afula
Six more teams will advance to the next stage on Wednesday, with
Premier League leader Ironi Kiryat Shmona hoping to take another step to
realizing its dream of an unprecedented treble when it visits Hapoel
In other action: Maccabi Haifa travels south to face Maccabi
Beersheba, Hapoel Tel Aviv hosts Maccabi Yavne, Hapoel Petah Tikva plays Ashdod
SC, Hapoel Ramat Hashaoron comes up against Hapoel Acre and Hapoel Rishon Lezion
hosts Betar Kfar Saba.