HAPOEL HAIFA players celebrate with Stefan Denkovic 370.
(photo credit: (Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Tel Aviv’s dream of winning the State Cup for a fourth straight year
remained a possibility on Wednesday night, but only just.
Tel Aviv, which
became the first team in 73 years to lift the cup three years in a row in 2012,
needed a Mor Shushan goal in the 112th minute to defeat Hapoel Beersheba 2-1 at
Vasermil Stadium and advance to the last 16.
Omer Damari gave the
visitors the lead in the 48th minute, but Beersheba equalized a minute later
through Ido Eksbard and the match went into extra-time before Shushan’s header
decided the outcome.
In two other all-Premier League encounters on
Wednesday, Hapoel Ramat Gan beat Ashdod SC 2-0 and Hapoel Haifa defeated Bnei
Yehuda by the same score-line.
Anton Arkhipov (53) and David Manga (77)
scored for Ramat Gan, while Stefan Denkovic (39) and Maharan Lala (80) netted
Maccabi Haifa had little trouble dispatching third division
Hapoel Azur on Wednesday, winning 4-0 in Rishon Lezion.
Haifa, which has
won nine of its past 10 league matches to climb up to second place, didn’t take
the lead until the 39th minute through Weeam Amasha, with Shlomi Azulai (50),
Dino Ndlovu (72) and Alon Turgeman (79) also all finding the back of the net for
the rampant Greens. Bnei Sakhnin survived a penalty shootout to overcome Upper
Nazareth of the National League on the way to the last 16.
gave Nazareth a fourthminute lead, but Ahmed Kasoum came to Sakhnin’s rescue
with an 86th minute goal and the tie had to eventually be decided in a penalty
Sakhnin ‘keeper Mahmud Kannadil saved Nazareth’s first two
attempts and the visitors clinched a 4-2 win on penalties.
Shmona had no such problems against Hapoel Herzliya, thrashing the third
division team 4-0 on the road.
Shimon Abu Hazeira (45), Sintiyahu Salalik
(55), Dan Eibinder (65) and Adrian Rochet (77) scored for Kiryat
Hapoel Kfar Saba was the only National League team to progress on
Wednesday, defeating Maccabi Herzliya 2-1 after extra-time.
will be one of six National League teams in the last 16 draw, which will take
place at Israel Football Association headquarters at National Stadium in Ramat
Gan on Thursday.
Two teams from the third division, Hapoel Afula and Asi
Gilboa, will also be in the draw, with the remaining eight clubs hailing from
the Premier League.
Betar Jerusalem, which progressed to the last 16 with
a 5-0 victory over Maccabi Umm al-Fahm on Tuesday, unveiled new signings
Dzhabrail Kadiyev and Zaur Sadayev on Wednesday after the two completed their
transfer from Chechen side Terek Grozny.
Following owner Arkadi
Gaydamak’s announcement that the club is set to sign the two Muslim players,
fans raised a banner reading: “Betar [will be] pure forever” and sang anti-Arab
chants during the 1-0 Premier League defeat to Bnei Yehuda on
The anti-Muslim bigotry led to widescale condemnation in Israel
and abroad, with IFA chairman Avi Luzon revealing that FIFA and UEFA are
following the happenings at Betar and could demand the club be shut down should
the racism in the stands persist.
However, Tuesday’s potentially volatile
showdown with Umm al-Fahm went off without a hitch and Betar will be hoping that
Kadiyev and Sadayev last at the club longer than its first Muslim player,
Nigerian defender Ibrahim Nadalla, who was on the team only briefly in 2005
before leaving after experiencing consistent hostility from its supporters.
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