Ironi Kiryat Shmona's Shimon Abu Haziera 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Hapoel Ramat Gan face off in the State Cup final on
Wednesday night hoping to transform their seasons with a rare hardware
After winning an historic championship last season, Kiryat
Shmona is set to end the current campaign in a respectable fourth or fifth
However, should it claim a first cup on Wednesday, it’s season
would instantly turn into a resounding success and cement the club’s place among
the country’s elite.
Ramat Gan, on the other hand, is still coming to
terms with being relegated to the National League and is looking to salvage
something from this campaign by lifting a second cup in club history and a first
Kiryat Shmona stunned Maccabi Haifa in the semis to reach its
first ever final and is the clear favorite on Wednesday, despite coach Barak
“We don’t consider ourselves the favorites,” Bachar said
“This match will be just as difficult as the semi against
“We don’t have a long history in the top flight and it would be
amazing for the city and the club to win a title for a second straight
Ramat Gan avoided the big guns on its way to the final, overcoming
Hapoel Rishon Lezion of the second division in the semis.
Kiryat Shmona and Ramat Gan having relatively small fan bases, the Israel
Football Association made the unprecedented decision to move the final from
National Stadium in Ramat Gan to the new stadium in Netanya, which is still
unlikely to be full.
“We have an opportunity to end the season on a sweet
note,” said Ramat Gan coach Eli Cohen, who was also at the helm when the club
won the cup 10 years ago.
“We believe in ourselves even though we are the
underdog. There is some concern that the players will be slightly down after
being relegated, but this is an outstanding chance to take something away from
this season.”LOCAL SOCCER On TV: State Cup final: Ironi
Kiryat Shmona vs Hapoel Ramat Gan (live on Sport5 at 8 p.m.)