(photo credit: )
Israeli soccer’s big names were kept apart in the last 16 draw of the State Cup
on Tuesday night.
Reigning cup holder Hapoel Tel Aviv, Maccabi Haifa and
Betar Jerusalem were all handed home matches against inferior opponents in the
draw, held at Israel Football Association headquarters at National Stadium in
Only three of the eight encounters to be played on March 1/2
will be fought between Premier League opponents.
Hapoel hosts Hapoel
Ashkelon at Bloomfield Stadium in a repeat of the 2007 final, with Haifa
welcoming the only remaining third-division club in the competition, Hapoel
Jerusalem, and Betar Jerusalem to play National League side Hapoel Rishon Lezion
at Teddy Stadium.
“Ashkelon is a good team which strengthened its squad
recently,” Hapoel assistant coach Yossi Abuksis said. “We respect every team we
Hapoel Jerusalem coach Lufa Kadosh promised his team will come to
Kiryat Eliezer Stadium looking to claim a win.
“In soccer you need to
enjoy yourself and we will not just stand there with 10 players in defense,” he
said. “We will come to play our game even though Haifa clearly has better
Betar coach Roni Levy refuses to take Rishon Lezion
“We respect every opponent,” he said. “Playing at Teddy gives us
an advantage, but even though everyone will say this is a comfortable match, we
know that there is no such thing as an easy match in the cup.”
tightest encounter in the round of 16 will likely be between Premier League dark
horses Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Hapoel Beersheba.
In other matches: Hapoel
Petah Tikva, which knocked out Maccabi Tel Aviv in the eighth round, visits
Maccabi Netanya, Ness Ziona hosts Hapoel Haifa, Ashdod SC goes to Maccabi
Herzliya and Hapoel Ra’anana welcomes Ironi Jatt.