Mirko Oremus 390.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Netanya ended Ironi Kiryat Shmona’s dream of claiming an unprecedented
local treble on Wednesday night, beating the Premier League leader 2-1 on the
road in the last 16 of the State Cup.
Netanya is the only team to win in
Kiryat Shmona in the Premier League this season and it proved that its victory
in the second weekend of the season was no coincidence with another impressive
showing up north on Wednesday.
Kiryat Shmona controlled the early going,
but it had little to show for its superior possession and Netanya hit the hosts
on the break in the 37th minute.
Firas Mugrabi’s delightful pass left
Ahmed Saba with only ‘keeper Danny Amos to beat and the Premier League’s leading
scorer needed just one touch of the ball to give the visitors the
Eight minutes after the break Netanya doubled its advantage, with
Mugrabi once more providing the assist, this time for Hen Ezra who rounded Amos
before firing into an empty net.
Substitute Barak Badash ensured there
would be an exciting finish to the match when he got a goal back for Kiryat
Shmona in the 79th minute, but the northerners, who lead the league by 17 points
and can clinch the championship this weekend, failed to score a second and
dropped to a disappointing defeat, a very rare occurrence for them this
“We played okay, but in the cup this can happen,” said Kiryat
Shmona coach Ran Ben-Shimon. “We conceded the first goal against the run of
play, but despite the defeat this season has been a massive
“Winning the championship and the Toto Cup in one season is a
great achievement for Kiryat Shmona.”
Netanya coach Reuven Atar was
delighted after seeing his team win for the fifth time in six matches in all
“We have been playing very well recently,” said Atar. “We
managed to spoil their ball movement and for a second time this season we got
the better of the leading team in Israeli soccer today.”
Shmona could afford to treat the cup as a bonus, Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi
Haifa entered their matches against National League opponents on Wednesday
desperate for a cup triumph in the hope of salvaging something from a dismal
Haifa was poor for 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of
extra-time, but it survived a penalty shootout against Hapoel Kfar Saba,
advancing to the quarterfinals with a 4-3 win in penalties after extra-time
ended in a 0-0 deadlock.
After one miss each, Ran Kadosh blasted
Herzliya’s fifth penalty off the crossbar and moments later defender Sari Falach
secured Haifa’s progress.
Hapoel Tel Aviv looked to be in real trouble at
halftime of its match against Bnei Lod, but it came back from being down both a
goal and a man at the break to win 3-1 after extra-time.
Salem Abu Siam
scored from the penalty spot in stoppage time to give Lod the lead following
Apoula Edel’s foul on Murad Abu Anza which also resulted in a red card for the
Tel Aviv goalkeeper.
However, it took Hapoel just 10 seconds from the
start of the second half to equalize, with a swift team move ending with an
accurate effort by Mirko Oremus.
The tie went into extra-time after
neither team was willing to commit players forward in the second half, but after
less than two minutes of the extra period, Hapoel took the lead through Nosa
The Nigerian found the back of the net from 20 meters out and
went on to clinch the win in the 115th minute when he rounded the ‘keeper to
score with ease.
“We knew we were facing a tough team, one which is just
as good as half of the teams in the Premier League,” said Hapoel coach Nitzan
Shirazi, who is expected to sign a two-year extension later this week.
told my players that the DNA of this club does not allow us to be knocked out by
Lod and they gave their all and won the match.”
Netanya, Hapoel Tel Aviv
and Maccabi Haifa join Ashdod SC, Maccabi Petah Tikva, Hapoel Ramat Hasharon and
National League sides Hapoel Upper Nazareth and Maccabi Herzliya who all
advanced to the last eight on Tuesday.