Betar to honor Malmilian prior to State Cup match

The State Cup eighth-finals will be held this weekend, with nine of the 12 Premier League teams still in the grind.

The State Cup eighth-finals will be held this weekend, with nine of the 12 Premier League teams still in the grind. Hapoel Petah Tikva, Maccabi Netanya and Upper Nazareth bowed out in the previous stage. Maccabi Herzliya hosts Maccabi Petah Tikva Friday afternoon at Herzliya Stadium in what promises to be a tense and close tie. Petah Tikva will appear with its strongest lineup, despite injuries to key midfielders Asi Mashiach and Soli Tzemach, who are doubtful for the game. "Herzliya is a strong team, a team that leads the National League so convincingly that it has to be taken seriously," said Ofer Fabian, coach Guy Luzon's assistant. "We know that it's going to be tough, but we intend to give it our best and reach the quarters." Betar Jerusalem takes on Uri Malmilian and Amidar Ramat Gan at Teddy Stadium in a sentimental and emotional clash. Malmilian is expected to receive a token of honor from Betar president Arkadi Gaydamak prior to the game, in recognition of his service to the club in the 1980s, when he led the yellow-and-black to its first league championship and no less than three State Cups. David Aganzo, Mazua Ensombo and David Amsalem are suffering from muscle cramps and are lacking match fitness, but are expected to be in Luis Fernandez's starting 11. The game with the biggest sporting value will feature Ashdod SC and Hapoel Tel Aviv. Ashdod can end the reds' hopes of earning a place in European competition next season. Dror Kashtan will have his work cut out as many of his regular starters are expected to miss the game. Baruch Dego, Asi Domb and Yossi Abuksis are all suffering from injuries and have not trained with the first team all week. Tel Aviv's dynamic right back, John Pantsil, has joined the Ghanaian national team, which is currently touring the US, and won't be available for the crucial game. Reigning State Cup champion Maccabi Haifa travels south to take on Hapoel Beersheba in what could be a tricky away fixture. The local team is expecting a season-high 6,000 fans at Vasermil Stadium. Beersheba is producing good results this season and is apparently on its way back to the Premier League, as it is currently in second place in the National League. The team is coached by none other than Marko Balbul, who spent most of his playing career at Maccabi Haifa and also served as coach Roni Levy's assistant. Hapoel Kfar Saba is having a dreadful Premier League campaign, but has a great chance to advance to the State Cup quarters after a favorable draw has Eli Ohana's team hosting Hapoel Marmorek.