Local Soccer: Ra'anana storms into Toto Cup semifinals

Local Soccer Raanana s

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December 31, 2009 04:56
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Hapoel Ra'anana advanced to the semifinals of the Toto Cup on Wednesday night, recording a surprise 1-0 victory over Bnei Yehuda at Levita Stadium in Kfar Saba. Snir Shuker's second half screamer was enough to win the match for Ra'anana, which is playing in the Premier League for the first time in its history this season. The team in red fully deserved its victory on Wednesday and joins big guns Maccabi Haifa, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Betar Jerusalem in the last four of Israel's second cup competition. "I'm very pleased with the way we played," said Ra'anana coach Eli Cohen, whose side moved up to 12th position in the league standings on Saturday after a 3-1 win over Maccabi Petah Tikva. After a 30 minute postponement due to a waterlogged pitch, the match finally got underway at 8:30 p.m., and Bnei Yehuda dominated the early possession. In the ninth minute the visitors were only denied by the woodwork, with Liroy Tzairi's thunderous effort from 20 meters out smashing against the crossbar. Ten minutes before the break Eliran Atar squandered a golden opportunity to give Bnei Yehuda the lead and it was Ra'anana which scored the opener six minutes into the second half. Shuker stroke a superb left footed effort from just outside the box, giving Bnei Yehuda's second 'keeper Ran Kadosh no chance. Ra'anana controlled the match after that and only a mistake by the referee's assistant denied the hosts a second goal. Armando Lescano's header crossed the line after coming off the crossbar, but the officials failed to spot it. The one-goal lead, however, was enough for the hosts and Ra'anana will be looking to record another upset in the semifinals at National Stadium in Ramat Gan.

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