Maccabi Haifa edges Hapoel Umm Al Fahm

Last year’s State Cup Cinderella ousted by 90th-minute winner • Mac TA, Beitar Jerusalem advance

MACCABI TEL AVIV and Hapoel Beersheba battled in the State Cup round-of-32 this week, with the yellow-and-blue emerging with a narrow 1-0 conquest to advance. (photo credit: DANNY MARON)
MACCABI TEL AVIV and Hapoel Beersheba battled in the State Cup round-of-32 this week, with the yellow-and-blue emerging with a narrow 1-0 conquest to advance.
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
 Israel State Cup round-of-32 action was on tap this week as teams from across the country and in various leagues took part in the prestigious tournament.
Maccabi Haifa just got by second-division Hapoel Umm Al Fahm 2-1 in as Godsway Donio’s 90th-minute goal pushed the Greens into the next round of the competition.
Last year, Umm Al Fahm upset Maccabi Tel Aviv and looked to duplicate the feat at Sammy Ofer Stadium. Barak Bachar’s Haifa grabbed an early 1-0 lead when Neta Lavi sent a screamer into the back of the goal, but just as the game hit halftime Omer Atzili coughed up the ball allowing Levan Kutalia the opportunity to draw his team even at 1-1 after 45 minutes.
However, the red-hot Donio found the back of the goal to take the win.
“We made our lives difficult,” said Bachar. “We knew that this game wouldn’t be easy and we have to give credit to our opponent, who came to play. Advancing is what is important and despite not making it a bit easier we had a tough week between COVID-19 and the Israel Football Association court.”
Umm Al Fahm coach Moti Ivanir lamented the loss, but praised his players’ effort
“Unfortunately we couldn’t complete the upset,” said a disappointed Ivanir. “The team did the best they could and we fought as hard as possible. There were minutes where we played really well and it’s too bad we couldn’t take the win because Haifa didn’t have their strongest squad.”
Donio also spoke about advancing to the next round after his game-winning tally.
“It’s great feeling, not just for me but for the entire team. It’s an honor to score, but I don’t play by myself, everyone helps out and we all should get that credit.”
Down south, Maccabi Tel Aviv slipped by Hapoel Beersheba 1-0 on a 65th-minute goal by Dor Peretz as the yellow-and-blue moved on in the competition.
Head coach Patrick van Leeuwen made wholesale changes to the starting lineup that featured last Thursday when Maccabi fell to Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 in Europa League first-leg round-of-32 action.  
“We have a good squad with quality players who deserve a chance to play,” said van Leeuwen following the game. “There are players here who are champions and they can certainly play so it’s legitimate to me that they get the opportunity.”
Maccabi’s goal scorer Peretz also reflected on the game.
“It’s a great feeling. This was a very important game for us and I am happy that we won and moved on. I am trying my best to plat my role and I am thrilled to be able to help the team in any way that I can.”
In the north, Beitar Jerusalem downed Hapoel Acre 2-0 on a pair of goals by Yarden Shua just before the halftime break.
Idan Vered was pulled down in the box, good for a penalty that Shua slotted home in the 44th minute, and just two minutes later Shua headed home an Oren Bitton corner kick to help Beitar advance to the next round.
Beitar’s co-coach Shai Barda looked back at the win.
“I don’t think we played well and we need to play with more confidence. But in the State Cup you need to know how to win and move on and that’s exactly what we did.”
Elsewhere, Hapoel Haifa needed penalty kicks to defeat Bnei Yehuda 5-4 after a 3-3 game following 120 minutes of play.
Dan Mori, Shay Mazor and Amit Zaneti found the back of the goal for Yossi Abukasis’s Bnei Yehuda while Kayes Ganem, Ido Shachar and Itay Boganim scored for Haim Silvas’s Haifa after a entertaining contest of end-to-end action.
Alon Turgeman slotted home Haifa’s final spot kick while Roie Ben Shimon missed his to hand the Carmel Reds the win.
“It’s very exciting to advance even though the cup competition is still at its earliest stages,” said Silvas. “It was a crazy game and that is something that we have been used to but we believe in ourselves and despite it being a tough match it was very sweet.”
“When a contest gets to penalties it can go either way,” explained Abukasis. “We were a bit naive throughout the game, but now we have to concentrate on our goals in the league and more on.”
Also, Hapoel Tel Aviv blew out Hapoel Ashkelon 4-0 as four different goal scorers found the back of the goal.
Ben Bitton opened the floodgates just before the break as Shlomi Azulay, Lidor Cohen and Ofek Bitton all scored in the second half to take the win.
“It took time to score the first goal but it was in the air,” said a content Reds coach Nir Klinger. “We played a good game and we are continuing to improve as well. I hate these cup games as they are always a cause for concern but the players showed true professionalism to record the victory.
In other State Cup action, Bnei Sakhnin blanked Hapoel Hadera 3-0 as striker Nigel Hasselbaink scored a brace and Dane Kelly added a lone strike in the win, while Ashdod SC disposed of Hapoel Ra’anana 3-1 on goals by Roie Gordana, Moussa Bagayoko and Stav Torial.
Maccabi Netanya dropped Bikat HaYarden 2-0 on a brace by Ben Azubel, Maccabi Petah Tikva used a 96th minute goal in the extra session by rising star Liel Abada to defeat Sektzia Ness Ziona 1-0 to advance.
Beitar Tel Aviv/Bat Yam surprised Ironi Kiryat Shmona 2-0 on goals by Yaniv Mizrahi and Eyal Hen and Hapoel Kfar Saba moved on with a 2-0 win over Hapoel Kfar Kasem thanks to goals by Amadou Soukouna and Omer Lakou.
Guy Badash scored the lone goal for Hapoel Jerusalem in the 109th minute against Hapoel Rishon Lezion to punch its ticket to the next round with a 1-0 victory.
Hapoel Ramat Gan beat Bnei Lod 4-1 in overtime after a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes, Hapoel Afula got by Nog HaGalil 1-1 (5-4 on penalties), Hapoel Kfar Shelem disposed of Adumim Ashdod 3-0 and Beitar Nordia slipped by Tira 0-0 (10-9 on penalties) on a waterlogged pitch.