Ashdod, Hasharon first two semifinalists

Mac PT knocked out of State Cup before today’s IFA hearing regarding last month’s brawl.

BARUCH DEGO 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Petah Tikva was knocked out of the State Cup on Monday night, but it has far greater concerns.
Ashdod SC beat Petah Tikva 3-1 on the road to join Hapoel Ramat Hasharon in the semifinals after Shiye Feigenbaum’s team defeated Maccabi Herzliya 1-0 earlier in the day.
But for Petah Tikva, Monday’s result pales in comparison to its date with the Israel Football Association’s disciplinary court on Tuesday afternoon.
Petah Tikva will stand trial for the fracas that followed its 2-1 Premier League victory over Hapoel Haifa on March 31.
In TV footage of the incident at the Moshava Stadium, Hapoel Haifa’s Ali Khatib is clearly seen as throwing a punch at Maccabi’s Danny Preda before being head butted by Petah Tikva goalkeeping coach Ami Genish and allegedly being kicked while on the ground by Yigal Maman, a Petah Tikva fan close to the club’s ownership.
Petah Tikva, which is currently only kept out of the Premier League relegation zone on goal difference, could well be deducted points, which is also a concern for Haifa which will face disciplinary action for its part in the brawl.
“My biggest fear is that the judges will make a populist decision, wanting to please the media,” Petah Tikva owner Amos Luzon said on Monday.
Later in the day, Luzon was forced to suffer another disappointing performance from his team.
Petah Tikva took the lead in the 20th minute through Tal Ben-Haim, who made the most of Efe Ambrose’s defensive lapse.
However, Ambrose made up for his mistake by heading in the equalizer from a David Revivo corner just five minutes later and Ashdod clinched the win in the second half thanks to goals from Nir Biton (48) and Israel Rosh (84), both coming after Revivo corners.
Ramat Hasharon was the first team to advance to the semis, beating Maccabi Herzliya of the National League 1-0 thanks to Tomer Swisa’s 92nd-minute winner.
Herzliya, which is battling for promotion to the Premier League, was the better team in the first half and was unfortunate not to be in the lead at the break, with Ramat Hasharon’s Baruch Dego clearing Regev Volk’s header from the goal-line as early as the fourth minute.
The hosts only finally reached their first real chance in the 57th minute, with Dego firing just wide after a nifty team move.
The largely eventless match seemed destined for extra time, but Ramat Hasharon netted a dramatic winner in the second minute of stoppage time.
Dego did all the hark work on the left flank before squaring the ball for Alain Masudi who subsequently laid it off for Swisa to slot in the winner from close range.
“Herzliya played superbly,” said Feigenbaum. “We had a tough time with them and this is our happiest moment of the season. This is a great achievement.”
The two remaining semifinalists will be determined on Tuesday when Maccabi Netanya welcomes Hapoel Tel Aviv before Maccabi Haifa faces National League side Hapoel Upper Nazareth.