Soccer: Maccabi Tel Aviv lifts Toto Cup with win over Maccabi Haifa

Even with star midfielder Eran Zahavi watching from the stands, Maccabi Tel Aviv claimed the season’s first title on Wednesday night, beating Maccabi Haifa 2-1 in the Toto Cup final in Netanya.
Maccabi coach Pako Ayestaran said he would make changes to his lineup for the final, with a crunch Premier League showdown against Hapoel Beersheba coming up on Monday. However, no one, including Zahavi himself, expected him to leave out his top scorer, who has netted 16 goals in 13 league appearances this season.
The yellow-and-blue struggled without Zahavi, but nevertheless eked out the win and claimed its first Toto Cup since 2008/2009, and fifth in club history, after Nikola Mitrovic scored the winner from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute.