Hapoel Beersheba beats Maccabi Haifa to win Israel State Cup

With the victory, Beersheba denied Barak Bachar’s club a chance to win all of the available Israeli titles after having just celebrated winning the Premier League crown this past weekend.

 Hapoel Beersheba beats Maccabi Haifa to win Israel State Cup (photo credit: BERNEY ARDOV)
Hapoel Beersheba beats Maccabi Haifa to win Israel State Cup
(photo credit: BERNEY ARDOV)

Hapoel Beersheba hoisted the Israel State Cup to the delight of the fans who celebrated through the night in the nation’s capital after the Southern Reds defeated Maccabi Haifa 2-2 (3-1 on penalties) to capture its second cup in three years.

Close to 30,000 fans at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium were treated to a highly entertaining 90 minutes of regulation time plus a 30-minute extra-time session that featured end-to-end action. Elyaniv Barda’s squad went on to win in a penalty shootout thanks to three saves by ’keeper Omri Glazer, who stole the show.

With the victory, Beersheba denied Barak Bachar’s club a chance to win all four of the available Israeli titles after having just celebrated winning the Premier League crown this past weekend and already taking the Toto Cup and Champions (Super) Cup.

The game got off to a super hot start as fans from both teams tossed flares onto the Teddy Stadium pitch as they lit up the field of play foreshadowing the exciting action that the players would provide.

Beersheba would strike first as Ramzi Safari slotted home a terrific cross by Eugene Ansah, who streaked down the right side of the field to give the Southerners a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute.

MACCABI TEL AVIV celebrates on the pitch with the trophy after beating Hapoel Tel Aviv 2-1 in extra time on Wednesday at Bloomfield to win the Israel State Cup. (credit: BERNEY ARDOV)MACCABI TEL AVIV celebrates on the pitch with the trophy after beating Hapoel Tel Aviv 2-1 in extra time on Wednesday at Bloomfield to win the Israel State Cup. (credit: BERNEY ARDOV)

The Greens came out flying in the second half as they searched for a goal and Omer Atziliy did just that when he scored via a penalty after Eyad Abu Abid committed a foul in the box to give Maccabi Haifa the equalizer and even up the score at 1-1 in the 55th minute.

Barda’s squad would retake the lead a quarter-hour later when Danilo Asprilla sent a perfect free kick from the left side right onto the head of Rotem Hatuel, who nodded the ball behind ’keeper Roie Fuchs to go up 2-1.

However, as time neared the final whistle, Beersheba defender Miguel Vitor accidentally headed the ball into his own net to give Haifa the tying marker to send the contest into extra time.

Both teams danced around the pitch in the extra time, offering very little offense as the game went to penalties, where Beer took over.

Glazer, who had previously played five seasons with the Greens, came back to haunt his former club as he stymied Dolev Haziza, Godsway Donyoh and Mavis Tchibota to snatch the State Cup with the help of spot-kick goals by Tomer Yosefi, Eyad Abu Abid and Helder Lopes.

“It was a very tough game.”

Omri Glazer

There had been much discussion prior to the game as to who would start in goal for Maccabi Haifa as first-choice ’keeper Josh Cohen was questionable after not having played in weeks due to a shoulder injury.

However, he was listed in the starting line-up an hour before the game kickoff, but failed a fitness test and was replaced by rarely used third-choice netminder Fuchs after Cohen’s backup Roie Mishpati had been injured in the Greens’ final match of the season.

But it would be Beersheba’s Glazer who would grab the spotlight at the end of the game with the trio of saves during the penalty shootout.

“It was a very tough game,” the obvious-man-of-the-match said. “The game went back and forth, but we are a bunch of warriors and I came in prepared for the penalty shootout as we made sure to look for their weaknesses. I was able to do just that and prevented them from scoring in the penalty shoot out.

"I always worked hard and believed in my abilities and now we have to keep working as we prepare for next season," he said. "I think we proved to everyone that we are one of the top teams in the country."

“It’s so exciting,” Barda exclaimed. “I was thrown into the deep end when I took over as coach in the middle of the season. Beersheba is my home and I couldn’t refuse. Everything was new for me as a coach after playing for so many years and I realized that I was working with a group of the most amazing people who surrounded me. I learned a tremendous amount from Barak Bachar, who was my coach.”

Haifa's response

The Haifa bench boss also gave credit to the victors.

“You also have to know how to lose,” Bachar explained following the game. “We played an excellent team and they deserved a lot of congratulations.

"They are a strong team and I have to credit them for winning in penalties. The game was very close and the 2-2 score at the end of regulation time reflected that. At the end of the day, they deserved the win. It was almost a historic season for us with three domestic titles and we did the maximum, but in sports you may lose as well.”

Safouri, who was questionable going into the game and scored Beersheba’s first goal, said that nothing was going to keep him from missing out on playing in the State Cup final.

“I told the staff that I was not going to sit on the sidelines and I wanted to play, which is what I did. Many people didn’t believe in us and they did in Haifa much more, but we didn’t give up and we came into the game with a lot of belief.”