Betar breaks out of slump, into cup quarters

Yellow-and-black blanks Rishon at Teddy; K. Shmona dominates Hap BS among last 16 slate.

Betar jerusalem Idan Tal 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Betar jerusalem Idan Tal 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Betar Jerusalem’s players could finally smile on Tuesday night after booking a place in the quarterfinals of the State Cup with a 2-0 victory over National League club Hapoel Rishon Lezion at Teddy Stadium.
Jerusalem is just six points above the Premier League relegation zone after going winless in its last five matches, scoring just a single goal in that stretch.
Roni Levy’s team was also far from impressive on Tuesday, but Cristian Gonzalez’s 69th minute goal gave Betar the lead and Hen Azriel’s 89th minute strike secured a victory in the last 16 and gave Jerusalem fans something to look forward to other than the team’s fight against relegation.
“Rishon plays nice soccer and I never thought we would have an easy time,” Levy said. “It was very important for us to advance to the quarterfinals and I’m happy we eventually managed to claim the win.”
In Tuesday’s other last 16 matches: Ironi Kiryat Shmona beat Hapoel Beersheba 4-0, Hapoel Ra’anana defeated Ironi Jatt 3-0, Maccabi Netanya edged Hapoel Petah Tikva 1-0, Ashdod SC won 2-0 at Maccabi Herzliya and Hapoel Haifa knocked out Ness Tziona with a 3-1 victory after extra time.
The final two last 16 matches will be played on Wednesday, with Hapoel Tel Aviv hosting Hapoel Ashkelon and Maccabi Haifa welcoming Hapoel Jerusalem, the only remaining thirddivision team in the draw.
In Kiryat Shmona, the hosts seized control right from the kickoff.
Hapoel Beersheba, which has won just one of its last eight league matches, never really showed up and was down 3-0 by halftime.
Barak Badash took advantage of Beersheba’s lax defense to give Kiryat Shmona the lead in the 10th minute and the hosts secured their place in the last eight by the break, with Bryan Gerzicich scoring in the 34th minute and Wiyam Amashe finding the back of the net three minutes later.
Shimon Abu Hazeira completed the scoring from the penalty spot in the 54th minute, and after claiming the Toto Cup earlier this season, its first ever trophy, Kiryat Shmona is just three wins away from a rare cup double.
The first team to advance to the quarterfinals was National League club Hapoel Ra’anana, which easily overcame Ironi Jatt 3-0 in the first match of the day.
Michael Siroshtein gave Ra’anana the lead in the 37th minute and Eric Nyarko clinched the victory three minutes into the second half before Omri Atia put the icing on the cake in the 90th minute.
Maccabi Netanya edged Hapoel Petah Tikva 1-0 at home to book its place in the next stage thanks to Yigal Antebi’s own goal in the 50th minute.
Kobi Dajani left Netanya with 10-men after picking up his second yellow card in the 71st minute, but Petah Tikva couldn’t capitalize and was sent packing one round after knocking out Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Two goals in six seconds half minutes gave Ashdod SC a 2-0 victory at Maccabi Herzliya and a place in the last eight.
Emmanuel Sarki (63, 68) netted both of Ashdod’s goals and gave the team a precious victory after going winless in its last six league encounters.
Hapoel Haifa needed extra time to overcome an inferior opponent for a second straight round on Tuesday, beating Ness Tziona 3-1 after 120 minutes.
Sasa Stojanovic gave Haifa the lead two minutes from the break, but the hosts forced extra time with Amit Azulai’s 75th minute strike.
However, Ness Tziona couldn’t record the upset and Hanan Maman netted in the 93rd minute before Eden Ben-Basat completed the scoring two minutes from time.
Tuesday’s results: Betar Jerusalem 2, Hapoel Rishon Lezion 0; Ironi Kiryat Shmona 4, Hapoel Beersheba 0; Hapoel Ra’anana 3, Ironi Jatt 0; Maccabi Netanya 1, Hapoel Petah Tikva 0; Maccabi Herzliya 0, Ashdod SC 2; Ness Tziona 1, Hapoel Haifa 3 (AET).