Omer Damari playing against Maccabi Yavne 390.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Ironi Kiryat Shmona’s dream of claiming an unprecedented treble is still alive
after the northerners advanced to the last 16 of the State Cup on Wednesday
night, while Betar Kfar Saba of the third division continued its Cinderella run,
stunning Hapoel Rishon Lezion of the Premier League.
Kiryat Shmona has
already claimed the Toto Cup and is well on course to taking an historic
championship, leading the league standings by 12 points.
No Israeli team
has ever won all three local trophies in the same season, but Kiryat Shmona
moved one significant step closer to becoming the first on Wednesday, beating
Hapoel Haifa 1-0 at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium thanks to Ravid Gazal’s 36th minute
The visitors lost Lior Levy to a red card in the 71st minute, but
held off Haifa in the closing stages, with its stellar defense keeping yet
another clean sheet.
Betar Kfar Saba is currently only in fourth place in
Liga Alef Darom, but it never looked inferior to Rishon Lezion of the
top-flight, winning 2-0 at Haberfeld Stadium.
Kobi Domer (16) scored the
opener and the visitors clinched their progress in the 71st minute after Effi
Alon converted a spot kick gifted to Kfar Saba by David Gomez, who was also sent
“This match was really important to me,” said Kfar Saba coach Haim
Sirotkin. “You don’t get paid much in the third division. I had my motorbike
stolen this week and was promised by a sponsor that he would buy me a new one if
we beat Rishon.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa put aside their
disappointing league campaigns on Wednesday and progressed to the last 16 with
easy victories over inferior opponents.
Hapoel defeated third division
Maccabi Yavne 3-0, with Mahmoud Abbas (25), Omer Damari (71) and Maharan Lala
(92) scoring for the Reds.
Haifa, which hasn’t won the cup since 1998,
beat Maccabi Beersheba 2- 1 at Vasermil Stadium.
New defender Edin
Cocalic headed in the opener from a corner kick after 36 minutes, with Eyal
Meshumar clinching Haifa’s progress from the penalty spot in the 81st before
Adir Danin netted a stoppage- time consolation goal for the hosts.
only important thing in the cup is to advance, just ask Maccabi Tel Aviv and
Betar Jerusalem,” Haifa coach Elisha Levy said.
Hapoel Ramat Hasharon has
only won one of its last 10 league matches, but it advanced to the next round of
the cup with an emphatic 3-1 win over Hapoel Acre on Wednesday.
Aspa (20) and Tomer Swisa (34, 73) scored for Ramat Hasharon, with Sintiyahu
Salalik (82) finding the back of the net for Acre.
Ashdod SC has also had
trouble hitting top form in the league in recent weeks, winning just one of its
last seven matches.
However, like Ramat Hasharon, it too defeated a
Premier League opponent on Wednesday to reach the last 16, thrashing Hapoel
Petah Tikva 3-0.
Efe Ambrose (44), Amir Lavi (67) and Rodgers Kola (74)
scored for Ashdod.
Wednesday’s winners join Maccabi Petah Tikva, Hapoel
Beersheba, Maccabi Netanya, Hapoel Jerusalem, Bnei Lod, Maccabi Herzliya, Hapoel
Ramat Gan, Upper Nazareth, Hapoel Kfar Saba and Maccabi Umm el-Fahm, who all
progressed to the last 16 on Tuesday.