Betar wins State Cup on penalties

Win all but clinches club's first ever league and cup double.

betar fans 88.298 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger [file])
betar fans 88.298
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger [file])
Betar Jerusalem all but clinched its first ever league and cup double on Tuesday night, defeating Hapoel Tel Aviv 5-4 in a dramatic penalty shoot-out in the State Cup final at National Stadium in Ramat Gan. After losing on penalties to its arch-rival in its two previous finals in 1999 and 2000, Betar finally exacted the revenge it so desperately desired after 'keeper Tvrtko Kale saved Reuven Oved's penalty following a goalless 120 minutes. Betar, which won the cup for the sixth time in its history and first since 1989, now needs just three more points from its four remaining Premier League games to secure a historic double. Gal Alberman, Michael Zandberg and Idan Tal scored Betar's first three penalties, but the score was tied at 3-3 after Yigal Antebi, Walid Badier and Fabio Junior all found the back of the net for Hapoel. Jerusalem's Derek Boateng was the first to miss in the shoot-out, with Hapoel 'keeper Vincent Enyeama saving the penalty, and Tel Aviv seemed on course to a third straight cup triumph when Shai Abutbul scored the team's next penalty. Toto Tamuz would, however, keep his team alive by scoring next and Kale denied the reds the cup by dramatically saving Baruch Dego's penalty. Former Hapoel captain Shimon Gershon made no mistake with his penalty and the many thousands who came down from Jerusalem burst into massive celebrations when Kale kept Oved's shot out. Betar had the better of the early proceedings, but never really threatened Enyeama's goal in the first half. In the eighth minute Idan Tal's shot from the edge of the area went wide of the Hapoel goal and 10 minutes later the veteran midfielder made a complete mess of his free kick from 20 meters out. Jerusalem desperately lacked a cutting edge in the opening 45 minutes and it almost cost Schum's side dearly. Tel Aviv seized control of the encounter in the final 10 minutes of the first half and twice came close to claiming the opener. In the 36th minute Dego found himself all alone five meters from the Betar goal, but hit a poor shot which went out off Kale's upright. The cup holder continued to push forward and three minutes later Dimitar Telkiyski superbly crossed the ball for Shlomi Arbaitman, who had his header denied by a good Kale save. The start of the second half saw the momentum shift in Betar's direction once more, but for all its possession the reigning champion couldn't break down the Tel Aviv defense. Aviram Bruchian came closest to scoring three minutes after the interval when he sent the ball high over Enyeama's goal from three meters out. The next 30 minutes of the second half were truly dreadful as both teams couldn't find their rhythm and neither came anywhere close to breaking the deadlock. The game would, however, burst into life in the 76th minute when within 60 seconds both sides registered their best chances of the second half. First Dego threaded a great ball to Telkiyski, who could do no better than hit his shot straight at Kale. Moments later Gal Alberman struck a superb volley from 20 meters out, but Enyeama was up to the task and acrobatically maintained his team's clean sheet. The closing stages of the match were dominated by Betar and especially by substitute Toto Tamuz. The striker, who came on for Romulo, had three chances to decide the match, but to the relief of Hapoel squandered every one of them. In the 86th minute Tamuz made a nuisance of himself in the Jerusalem box and was only denied by a desperate Enyeama save. Just two minutes later Tamuz should have laid off the ball to Tal, but chose instead to try and win the game by himself and shot wide from the edge of the box. Betar's best chance of the first 90 minutes, however, would come in the dying moments of the encounter. A delightful Tal cross was met perfectly by Tamuz, but the striker's header went centimeters wide of the left post and extra-time ensued. In the additional 30 minutes both sides each had one good chance to win the encounter. In the 106th Dego curled the ball just over Kale's goal and three minutes later Tal raced untouched deep into the Hapoel box, but waited too long to release his shot and was blocked by Tel Aviv's defense.