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Beitar Jerusalem striker Gaetan Varenne netted both of his team’s goals in a 2-1 win over Hapoel Rishon Lezion in the State Cup round-of-32..(Photo by: DANNY MARON)
Beitar rallies to beat Hapoel Rishon Lezion
Jerusalem, Hapoel Haifa, Ness Ziona, Beitar Kfar Saba advance in State Cup • Katamon out
Beitar Jerusalem and Hapoel Haifa safely navigated their way through to the State Cup round-of-16 on Thursday night, while Ness Ziona and Beitar Kfar Saba ensured the third division will be well represented in the next round.

Beitar came back from a goal down to beat Hapoel Rishon Lezion of the National League 2-1 on the road. Omri Shekel gave the hosts the lead against an understrength Beitar lineup in the 18th minute, but Gaetan Varenne’s brace (23, 43) completed a comeback and Jerusalem held on with 10 men after Erik Sabo was sent off in the 57th minute.

Haifa, which is in second place in the Premier League standings two points ahead of Beitar, also didn’t have it all its own way in Petah Tikva, with Hapoel Petah Tikva’s Ness Zamir (31) canceling out Radu Ginsari (13) acrobatic opener.

Hanan Maman netted the winner for Haifa seven minutes into the second half.

The upset of the day was registered by Ness Ziona, which knocked out Bnei Sakhnin of the Premier League with a 2-0 win. Sahar Levy scored a superb brace (4, 43) for the hosts, with Sakhnin ending the match with 10 men following the sending off of goalkeeper Mahmud Kandil in the 65th minute.

Beitar Kfar Saba beat Hapoel Katamon of the National League 2-1 at Teddy Stadium. Idan Srur (30) and Niv Sarel (41) scored for the visitors, with Nissan Danon’s goal (71) proving to be of little consolation for Katamon.

Also Thursday, 10-man Ashdod SC beat Hapoel Ashkelon 3-1 after extra time in the only all-Premier League tie of the round. Ashkelon led through Oded Gavish (38), but Bentzi Moshel (87) forced an additional 30 minutes.

Ashdod lost Itzhak Asefa to a red card in the 90th minute, but booked its place in the next round courtesy of two late goals by Mauricio Cordeiro (114, 120).

Hapoel Acre survived a scare against Kafr Qasim of the third division, claiming a 1-0 win in extra time after Amran El Krenawy netted the only goal of the encounter in the 116th minute.

Cup action continues on Friday with seven more matches. Cup-holder Bnei Yehuda opens its title defense at Hapoel Ramat Gan of the National League, while Premier League surprise package Maccabi Netanya visits Hapoel Hadera, which is in sixth place in the second division.

Maccabi Petah Tikva hosts National League leader Hapoel Kfar Saba.

Hapoel Beersheba and Maccabi Tel Aviv will enter the fray on Saturday.

Beersheba, which hasn’t won the cup since 1997, visits Ahi Nazareth of the National League.

Maccabi faces the amateur players of Bnei MMBE, which plays in local soccer’s fourth division (Liga Bet). MMBE is initials for the four Golan Heights Druze towns the club represents: Mas’ade, Majdal Shams, Buq’ata and Ein Qiniyye.

The final tie of the round will be played on Sunday when Hapoel Tel Aviv, which is in second place in the National League, hosts Maccabi Haifa, which has lost three straight league matches and is winless in its past six, in a repeat of the finals from 2011 and 2012.
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