Bnei Yehuda, Ashdod make next month’s State Cup semifinals

Bnei Yehuda beats out Hapoel Ramat Gan, Ashdod SC wins against Upper Nazareth.

Bnei Yehuda Sinisa Linic 248.88 (photo credit: )
Bnei Yehuda Sinisa Linic 248.88
(photo credit: )
Bnei Yehuda and Ashdod SC advanced to the semifinals of the State Cup on Wednesday, joining Hapoel Tel Aviv and National League club Ironi Ramat Hasharon in the last four.
Bnei Yehuda did not have it all its own way at Hapoel Ramat Gan, but Michael Zandberg’s first half goal ended up proving to be enough to reach the semis with a 1-0 scoreline.
“I really want to take the cup for this club,” Bnei Yehuda coach Guy Luzon said. “This match was extremely important for the team and the better side won.”
Ashdod struggled in the first half against Hapoel Upper Nazareth of the National League, but three second half goals by the hosts gave them an emphatic 3-0 victory and another chance to reach a first final in club history.
“We’re not going to Ramat Gan just for the experience,” Ashdod coach Yossi Mizrahi said. “We want to go all the way in the cup. It is important for our club to reach the cup final for the first time in its history.”
The semifinal draw will take place on Thursday, with the matches to be played on May 4.
Hapoel Tel Aviv made it through on Tuesday with a comfortable 2-0 victory over underperforming Betar Jerusalem after Ramat Hasharon stunned Maccabi Petah Tikva.
Bnei Yehuda 1, Hapoel Ramat Gan 0At Winter Stadium, the hosts got off to the better start, but a defensive lapse gifted Bnei Yehuda the breakthrough. Moshe Biton was given plenty of space and time to aim his cross and Michael Zandberg headed in an easy goal after being left all alone from five meters out.
Both teams had good chances to score in the remainder of the first half, with Zandberg squandering the best opportunity, sending a simple shot woefully wide in stoppage time.
Ramat Gan had its chances to equalize in the second half, but could not make them count and Bnei Yehuda progressed to the semis.
Ashdod SC 3, Upper Nazareth 0In Ashdod, the hosts struggled to create clear-cut chances and had to wait until the brink of halftime to seriously threaten Upper Nazareth’s goal.
Moshe Ohayon’s free kick from 20 meters out beat goalkeeper Avi Ivgi, but was denied by the crossbar.
The visitors continued to keep Ashdod at bay at the start of the secondhalf, but in the 61st minute defender Tom Pe’er failed to clear asimple cross and Idan Shriki squared the ball for Dimitar Makriev whohad no trouble slotting in the opener.
Ashdod lost defender Marko Popovic 10 minutes later after he foolishlyelbowed Ran Roll in the face and left the referee with no option but toshow him a red card.
However, eight minutes from time, Makriev was once more perfectlyplaced and he doubled the lead with a simple header before RahamimTzukul wrapped up the victory with a third goal in stoppage time.