(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
A 116th minute goal by Omer Buksenboim gave Maccabi Herzliya its first-ever title on Tuesday night.
The club, which was founded in 1959, defeated Hapoel Kfar Saba 2-1 in the Toto Cup Final at National Stadium in Ramat Gan and guaranteed itself a NIS 400,000 bonus.
Herzliya was the better side throughout the match and should have wrapped it up within the first 90 minutes. Maharan Radi scored a sensational goal in the 59th minute and put Maccabi in front. However, a Samuel Yeboah goal against the run of play nine minutes before the final whistle sent the sides into an extra 30 minutes.
After an uneventful first half, Alon Halfon's last ditch tackle two minutes into the second half saved Kfar Saba from a Kfir Edri shot that was making its way into goal.
Five minutes later, Herzliya was denied by substitute 'keeper Guy Haimov, who kept out Yannick Kamanan's left-footed shot from the center of the box.
However, in the 59th minute, a moment of brilliance from Maharan Radi left Haimov helpless. The Herzliya midfielder picked up the ball in the center of the field and, after avoiding two Hapoel players, released an unstoppable shot from 25 meters out into the bottom left corner of the net.
Maccabi immediately pushed for a second and decisive goal and should have got it in the 65th minute. Kamanan only had Haimov to beat, but the French striker ballooned his shot instead of placing it in the back of the net.
Six minutes later, Kamanan's poor decision-making cost his team dearly when he shot at goal rather than passing the ball to Edri.
Kfar Saba had an excellent chance to equalize in the 77th minute when Guillermo Israilevitch crossed the ball perfectly for Avi Knafo, who headed poorly from three meters out.
Four minutes later, Israilevitch was at the center of things once again and helped Kfar Saba score the precious equalizer. The diminutive midfielder found Samuel Yeboah all alone two meters from goal and the Ghanaian tied the score with an easy header.
Mac Haifa hosts Betarin State Cup showdown
The ninth round of the State Cup will be concluded Wednesday night when Maccabi Haifa hosts Betar Jerusalem at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.
Haifa, which hasn't won the cup in nine years, is desperate to end its drought this season and could miss out on European qualification for the first time in five seasons if it fails to do so.
Maccabi, which trails Hapoel Tel Aviv by six points in the Premier League in the battle for third position and a place in Europe, faces a Betar squad which hasn't lifted the cup in 18 years and is looking to keep its dream of a first-ever league and cup double alive.
The winner of Wednesday's match will host Bnei Lod in the round of 16 on Saturday.
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