IRONI KIRYAT SHMONA wins its second straight Toto Cup 311.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Ironi Kiryat Shmona’s dream season yielded the club’s second-ever piece of
silverware on Tuesday night, with the Premier League leader defeating Hapoel Tel
Aviv 4-3 in a penalty shootout, after extra time ended in a 1-1 tie, to lift its
second straight Toto Cup at the Moshava Stadium in Petah Tikva.
Shmona’s stunning start to the season has seen it open an 11-point lead at the
top of the standings after 22 matches, and with the Toto Cup now safely in its
trophy cabinet, it seems that the northerners are only a State Cup away from
winning a remarkable and unprecedented local treble.
After the first 90
minutes in Petah Tikva ended in a goalless deadlock, Kiryat Shmona took the lead
through Wiyall Marisat three minutes into extra time, but Mahmoud Abbas
equalized five minutes later and the encounter would be decided by spot
After four kicks each and one miss per side, Shir Tzedek slotted
in Kiryat Shmona’s fifth penalty to give it a 4-3 lead before Toto Tamuz sent
his shot wide and handed the northerners just their second title in club history
and NIS 1,250,000 in prize money, NIS 300,000 more than the losing
“We played well tonight and the players deserve to celebrate,”
said Kiryat Shmona coach Ran Ben-Shimon, who kept his cool in typical fashion.
“We will now turn our focus back to the league and continue to take one step at
Kiryat Shmona dominated the possession for the first 45 minutes,
threatening to score almost every time it broke forward.
came close to finding the back of the net twice within a minute, with his first
header going just wide of the Hapoel goal and his second from the subsequent
corner being denied only by the crossbar.
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Shlomi Azulai should have given
Kiryat Shmona what would have been a deserved lead at the break when he found
himself with plenty of space and time five meters from Apoula Edel’s goal in the
38th, only to send a meek header wide.
Tel Aviv finally showed some
urgency at the start of the second half, but it was Kiryat Shmona which rattled
the crossbar once more 10 minutes after the interval, with Gerzicich yet again
losing his marker, only to be denied by the woodwork for the second time in the
Despite rarely testing ’keeper Itamar Nitzan, Toto Tamuz should
have really decided the match one minute from time, but he somehow failed to put
the ball into the back of the net all alone from five meters out.
neither side managed to score in regulation, it took just eight minutes for both
to do so in extra time.
Comic marking by Hapoel meant that Marisat had
the goal at his mercy from five meters out and he made no mistake, volleying in
David Solari’s free kick three minutes into extra time.
Shmona’s lead wouldn’t last long, with the northerners failing to clear Shay
Abutbul’s set piece and Abbas smashing in the rebound.
Both sides had
their chances to decide the encounter, but it ultimately would come down to spot
kicks and Kiryat Shmona held its composure the better of the two teams to become
the first club since Hapoel Petah Tikva in 1991 to win the trophy in consecutive
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