Betar Jerusalem 298.88.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Betar Jerusalem and Bnei Yehuda booked themselves places in the draw for the semifinals of the Toto Cup on Tuesday night with impressive performances in the second legs of their quarterfinals.
Aviram Bruchian bagged two classy goals for league champion Betar, which overcame Maccabi Petah Tikva 2-1 at Teddy Stadium to win 3-2 on aggregate, while coach-less Bnei Yehuda defeated host Ashdod SC 3-0, going through with a 5-1 aggregate score.
The Toto Cup is the least significant of the three major local competitions Israeli Premier League clubs take part in, as it does not offer a place in European competition for the winner as the league and State Cup do.
However, both Jerusalem coach Itzhak Schum and Petah Tikva's Ofer Fabian put out strong sides, signifying their intent to do all they could to lead their teams to the first cup final of the season to be held at the National Stadium in Ramat Gan.
Bruchian has found it difficult to hold down a place in Schum's starting 11 in league play, but showed why he is a fan favorite as he linked up with Amit Ben-Shushan for both goals.
After a less than memorable first half, the game sprung into life five minutes after half time. Ben-Shushan, who has also spent much of the first round in the Premier League on the bench, sped down the left wing and put in a good cross which Bruchian met with a diving header to put his side 1-0 up.
Petah Tikva equalized almost immediately, when Rubil Sarsur picked up the ball from the kick off and shocked Betar 'keeper Tvrtko Kale by firing home from the edge of the area.
However, in the 62nd minute Ben-Shushan put Bruchian through again with a clever pass just inside the box and the Betar number eight embarrassed Maccabi goalkeeper Ohad Cohen by passing the ball through his legs and into the back of the net.
Moshe Biton scored two for Bnei Yehuda in its win and Imoro Lokman grabbed a third. The visitors took the lead in the 27th minute when Biton fired passed Sammy Adjei in the Ashdod goal. Lokman made it 2-0 20 minutes into the second half and Biton wrapped the game up eight minutes before the end.
The line up for the semifinals will be completed on Wednesday when Bnei Sakhnin visits Maccabi Netanya and Maccabi Haifa plays Maccabi Tel Aviv at Bloomfield. Sakhnin takes a 2-0 lead after the first leg and Haifa is 1-0 up having edged Tel Aviv at Kiryat Eliezer.
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