Sakhnin’s draw with K8 sends it to Toto Cup final vs Maccabi Tel Aviv

Liran Rotman scored a late goal to help Beitar Jerusalem notch a 2-0 conquest of host Ashdod SC this week.

Liran Rotman
Bnei Sakhnin and Ironi Kiryat Shmona played to a 1-1 draw in the northern capital, but the one point earned by Sakhnin was enough to punch its ticket to the Toto Cup final against Maccabi Tel Aviv on Saturday night.
Kiryat Shmona grabbed a 1-0 lead when Roie Kehat headed in the first goal of the match off an Ofir Mizrachi free kick in the 41st minute. However, Osama Khalaila sent a scorcher into the corner in the 71st minute for the visitors to send Eldad Shavit’s team to the title match.
Meanwhile, Beitar Jerusalem blanked Ashdod 2-0 at the Port City as Roni Levy’s squad won its first game of the Toto Cup campaign. The yellow-and-black dominated play from the get-go as captain Idan Vered found the back of the goal in the 16th minute to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. New recruit Gleofilo Hasselbaink showed his abilities in the second half after coming on as a substitute as his perfect pass in the box to an oncoming Liran Rotman led to the insurance marker and the victory.
“In our first two games we played tactically well but couldn’t score,” said Levy following the game. “Today we finally scored and it is important that we defeated a strong team as it will give us confidence going forward, however, we still have plenty of hard work ahead of us.”
Captain Vered also reflected on the win.
“It’s great to score but most importantly we are improving as a team. We still have a way to go and we have some new players so this will take time. We are now getting ready for our European game which is our next goal.”
Elsewhere, Bnei Yehuda steamrolled Hapoel Tel Aviv 3-0 at Bloomfield Stadium to take the three points. Niv Zrihen sent a masterful pass to Roie Ben Shimon, who put the ball behind a helpless Roy Baranes for a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute.
Baranes was the focal point again in the 49th minute when he yanked down a Bnei Yehuda player in the box which earned him a straight red card and was sent off while Matija Ljujic slotted home the ensuing penalty for a 2-0 advantage. Dor Jan finished the Reds off 25 minutes later with a massive strike to give Elisha Levy’s squad the victory.
“I’m happy we came into this game with the right attitude,” Levy explained following the win. “We played well right off the bat and were compact while we were excellent on defense giving Hapoel all kinds of problems creating opportunities. We think this shows that we have a good base and when we bring in 2-3 more players we will be even better than last season.
Losing coach Nir Klinger was blunt with his thoughts after the game.
“I’m very concerned with our play, especially what we showed in the first half. It gave me a lot of food for thought and I am going to have to really see which players will continue with this team.”
Also, Maccabi Haifa got by Hapoel Haifa 1-0 in a derby match up at Sammy Ofer Stadium.
After a goalless first half, Dolev Haziza sent a perfect ball to striker Nikita Rukavytsya, who headed it past Jasmin Buric for the only goal of the game as the Greens took the points.
“It’s always great to win,” said winning coach Barak Bachar. “It doesn’t matter what type of game, but of course the Derby means so much to the fans. We had a tough time in the first half but then we played smarter and our opponent tired but there is still plenty of work to do.”
Hapoel Kfar Saba slammed Maccabi Petah Tikva 4-1 at the Moshava Stadium after Eitan Azulay was sent off in the 18th minute with a second yellow card, leaving they host side a man short.
Luwagga Kizito scored his first of two strikes when he headed home the first goal in the 12th minute as Tal Makhlouf doubled the advantage 15 minutes later to give Amir Turgeman’s side a 2-0 lead.
Guy Hadida pulled a goal back off a brilliant Or Inbrun corner kick before the break, but Sagi Dror and Kizito with his second marker gave the Greens the big win.
“I thought we should win,” said Turgeman. “But our effort was why we played so well. When we lost 3-0 last week we didn’t get down and now we won’t go into euphoria. I’m happy with how the players have been improving and I am pleased with their attitude and progress.”
Maccabi Netanya slipped by Hapoel Hadera 1-0 at the Netanya Stadium thanks to a 78th-minute goal by second half substitute Ron Ashkenazi. Kevaughn Frater, who had just come on as a substitute himself, sent a beautiful through ball that the Hadera striker slotted by Adi Tabachnik to give Raymond Atteveld’s squad the lone goal of the contest.
Hadera had a chance to take the lead a quarter hour earlier, but Maxim Plakuschenko’s penalty was smartly parried by Netanya’s veteran shot stopper Dani Amos as Netanya took the three points.
“We began the game well and we had some early chances,” said Atteveld. “We could have finished the game off and it would have been much different. This was a tough game against a very tough opponent but at the end of the day our substitutes gave us the win.”
Goal-scorer Ashkenzi also reflected on the game.
“I have been working hard in practice and I am happy that I was able to score. We have a great team and a special coaching staff and I am sure that we will have an excellent season.”