Betar's LEONARDO PASSOS ALVES 370.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Betar Jerusalem moved four points clear of the relegation zone on Monday night, defeating Bnei Yehuda 2-1 at Teddy Stadium thanks to Amit Ben- Shushan’s 91st-minute winner.
Betar dominated the early going, but failed to find the back of the net and fell behind to Oz Raly’s goal in the 49th minute.
However, Steven Cohen equalized for the hosts with a great finish in the 79th minute and Ben-Shushan secured Betar’s third straight league win with an accurate header in stoppage time, with Cohen the provider.
Betar got the match off to a promising start, but for all its nifty passing, it squandered opportunity after opportunity and paid the price five minutes into the second half.
Jerusalem goalkeeper Ariel Harush deserted the goal line to go in search of Pedro Galvan’s corner kick, but he missed it completely and Raly was on hand at the back post to head in the opener.
It took Betar a while to recover from conceding against the run of play, but just when it seemed that it would return to losing ways, it scored a deserved equalizer.
Haim Megrelashvili’s cross from the left found Cohen in space in the box in the 79th minute and the midfielder scored with a sensational effort into the bottom left corner.
Both Betar and Bnei Yehuda were free to play on Monday as they will not be in action in the last 16 of the State Cup this week after suffering early exits.
The first five quarter finalists will be decided on Tuesday, with Betar Kfar Saba, the only remaining third division team in the draw, looking to continue its Cinderella run and reach the last eight.
Kfar Saba, which is second in Liga Alef Darom, stunned Hapoel Rishon Lezion of the Premier League with a 2-0 road win in the last 32 and its players are confident of pulling off another upset against Hapoel Ramat Hasharon on Tuesday.
“We feel we can beat Ramat Hasharon,” youngster Kobi Domer said.
“We are motivated by facing a Premier League team and I believe that if we play our game and implement the coach’s orders we will advance.”
Also Tuesday, Hapoel Jerusalem, which knocked out Maccabi Tel Aviv in the previous round, hosts Maccabi Petah Tikva, Maccabi Herzliya visits Hapoel Beersheba, Ashdod SC welcomes Maccabi Umm el-Fahem and Hapoel Ramat Gan goes to Upper Nazareth in the only all National League tie in the last 16.
The remaining big guns will all be in action on Wednesday, with Ironi Kiryat Shmona’s dreams of a local treble to be tested by Maccabi Netanya, Maccabi Haifa to visit Hapoel Kfar Saba and Bnei Lod, which beat Betar in the last 32, to host Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Hapoel received bad news on Monday when the Israel Football Association’s High Court rejected its appeal for the punishment it was handed for the violence displayed by its fans in the derby against Maccabi Tel Aviv two weeks ago.
Therefore, Hapoel will not get back any of the three points it was deducted and will host two more matches in front of empty stands.