Mac TA 88.
(photo credit: )
Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem will look to take the final step towards a classic meeting in the State Cup final when they play Bnei Hasharon and Ironi Ramat Gan respectively in a semifinal doubleheader at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv on Monday night.
Maccabi, which has won the State Cup for the last nine years, is as usual heavily favored to reach Thursday's final, however, Bnei Hasharon captain Erez Katz is refusing to go down without a fight.
"We are playing one of the better teams in Europe, but we have made all the preparations and we will give our all," Katz said on Monday.
"My players have worked extremely hard to reach this stage and I'm very proud of them," Bnei Hasharon coach Effi Birenboim said. "They want to win no matter who they're up against."
Hapoel Jerusalem has won its last five games in all competitions and will hope to continue its recent form against Ramat Gan. "Since Ironi replaced its coach it has only lost three times and they've been playing well lately," Jerusalem coach Dan Shamir said on Sunday. "We will have to be at our best to win the game and I'm sure it will be an interesting affair."
Ramat Gan is the smallest and weakest team to reach the last four and is just pleased at having the opportunity to be part of the event. "We are proud to be here," Ironi coach Avner Yaor said.
"It's important to us that we compete and perform well. We will fight for every ball and hope for the best."
On TV: Hapoel Jerusalem vs Ironi Ramat Gan (live at 6:30 p.m. on Sport 5), Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Bnei Hasharon (live at 8:30 p.m. on Sport 5).