Holder Hapoel Haifa eliminated from State Cup

Beitar, Katamon ousted

AFTER GOING down 1-0 to Hapoel Katamon, Hapoel Tel Aviv (in white) rallied back to claim a 2-1 road victory in State Cup action over the weekend (photo credit: DANNY MARON)
AFTER GOING down 1-0 to Hapoel Katamon, Hapoel Tel Aviv (in white) rallied back to claim a 2-1 road victory in State Cup action over the weekend
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
State Cup action kicked off over the weekend and, as always, there were a number surprises in store for the Premier League teams.
Second-division Hapoel Acre shocked defending-Cup holder Hapoel Haifa 1-0 at Sammy Ofer Stadium to eliminate Sharon Mimer’s squad early in the competition. In the 55th minute Yinon Eliyahu sent a perfect pass to Amir Khalaila who put the ball into the right corner behind ’keeper Ran Kadosh. The victory earned Alon Ziv’s squad trip to the round-of-16 and a date with powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv in mid-January.
“This match was incredible and I even lost my voice, but it was worth everything,” said a jubilant Ziv. “We came ready to play this game and I was clear to the players that there are a lot of emotions in a Cup contest which could help propel us to victory. The win brought a lot of pride to the club and we were totally focused on one goal which was to win and advance.”
Meanwhile, Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Beitar Jerusalem 2-1 as late substitute Yonatan Cohen scored in the 93rd minute to send the yellow-and-blue into the next round. Eliran Atar gave Maccabi a 1-0 lead in the 67th minute, but Gaetan Varenne found the equalizer in the 82nd minute for the hosts. Cohen, who had come on as an 87th-minute substitute took an Enric Saborit pass five minutes later and slammed the ball home behind a helpless Itamar Nitzan to advance.
It took 120 minutes, but Hapoel Beersheba was finally able to put away pesky Beitar Tel Aviv/Ramle 1-0. Dia Saba scored just seconds before the match was to go to a penalty shootout as he took a Niv Zrihen ball and beat the ’keeper from eight meters out to advance Beersheba to the next round, where it will visit a Maccabi Netanya side that easily disposed of Dburiyya 5-1.
Bnei Yehuda beat Beitar Nordia 3-1 in comeback fashion as a second half brace by Dor J’an and a lone marker by Dolev Haziza canceled out a first half penalty by Avraham Yosef. Bnei Yehuda will host Hapoel Nazareth Elite, which handily beat Hapoel Iksal 3-0.
Hapoel Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Katamon 2-1 in Jerusalem thanks to second-half goals by Roie Zikri and Fejsal Mulic. Micael Maman opened the scoring for the hosts, but Ofir Haim’s side was able to mount a comeback as Zikri found the back of the goal in the 58th minute while Mulic scored 10 minutes later. The Tel Aviv Reds move on in the tournament, where they will play a Hapoel Hadera team that beat Sektzia Nes Ziona 1-0.
Maccabi Haifa had an easy time with Hapoel Marmorek, winning 5-0 in Marko Balbul’s debut as the Greens coach. The round-of-16 will see them play Bnei Sakhnin, which defeated Maccabi Ahi Nazareth 1-0.
Hakoach Maccabi Amidar Ramat Gan shocked Hapoel Ra’anana, advancing on penalties 5-4 after a goalless 120 minutes, and will visit Maccabi Petah Tikva, which moved on in the competition by defeating Hapoel Kfar Saba 1-0.
Kiryat Shmona had some nervous moments against Hapoel Migdal HaEmek but an Eden Shamir goal propelled K8 to the 1-0 victory and a match against Hapoel Kfar Casem Shua, which took out Hapoel Ramat HaSharon by the same score.
First-division side Ashdod SC beat Hapoel Ramat Gan 2-0 and will visit Hapoel Afula, which took out Bnei Lod in a 4-2 goal-fest.