soccer ball 88.
(photo credit: )
Maccabi Tel Aviv and Ashdod SC will meet in the Toto Cup final after getting the better of Hapoel Tel Aviv and Bnei Sakhnin respectively in a double-header at National Stadium in Ramat Gan on Wednesday.
Emmanuel Mayuka scored the only goal of the Tel Aviv derby in the 14th minute, taking advantage of a poor clearance by the Hapoel defense.
"Two matches in 48 hours is too much for us," said Hapoel coach Eli Gutman, who made nine changes from the team which started Monday's match against Maccabi Netanya.
Ashdod thrashed Sakhnin 4-0 in the first semifinal of the day to advance to its fourth Toto Cup final in eight years.
The club, however, is still searching for the first title in its history and Ashdod coach Yossi Mizrahi is desperate to finally end the draught this season.
"I'm pleased with the way we played," Mizrahi said. "We scored an early goal and that made the difference.
"We really want to win this title. Ashdod has never won any trophies and this is a massive challenge for us."
Ronald Rivera gave Ashdod the lead in the 25th minute, heading the ball in from a corner kick, and three minutes later the team doubled its advantage after David Revivo threaded a superb pass to Idan Shriki, who coolly slotted the ball beyond Sakhnin 'keeper Meir Cohen.
Six minutes after the interval Revivo was in the thick of the action once more, crossing the ball for a Yossi Ofir header, which gave Ashdod a three-goal cushion.
In the 57th minute, Revivo added a goal to his three assists, with his free kick flying untouched into the back of the net.
In other soccer news, Betar Jerusalem defender Yoav Ziv signed for Belgian club Lokeren on Wednesday, taking the number of Israelis at the club to three.
The 27-year-old Ziv, who signed a two-and-a-half year contract, joins Omer Golan and Avi Strul at Lokeren.
Betar received a reported 75,000 euro for the left back, but will still be pleased with the relatively small amount as Ziv's contract was set to run out at the end of this season.
Ziv is the third player to leave Betar in the January transfer window, following in the footsteps of Derek Boateng (FC Koln) and Moshe Ohayon (Ashdod SC).