Local Soccer: Betar J'lem sent to Sakhnin in State Cup draw

If there was one team Betar was hoping to avoid in the draw for the Cup's ninth round, it was this one.

betar jerusalem 298.88 (photo credit: www.beitar-jerusalem.net)
betar jerusalem 298.88
(photo credit: www.beitar-jerusalem.net)
If there was one team Betar Jerusalem was hoping to avoid in Wednesday's draw for the State Cup ninth round, it was Bnei Sakhnin, the only club to record a victory over the Premier League champion in the league this season. No such luck for the champs, and if they are to win the Cup they will now have to do it the hard way, first playing at Doha Stadium against Maor Buzaglo's Sakhnin. Sakhnin handed the yellow and black its only loss of the season last month, defeating Betar 1-0 at Teddy Stadium. Last year Betar faced a similarly difficult task when it was drawn to play Maccabi Haifa at Kiryat Eliezer in the same round. The team, then coached by Yossi Mizrahi, was held 1-1 after 120 minutes and then beaten on a penalty shoot out. "This is one of the toughest draws we could have gotten," said Betar CEO Itzik Korenfein, who represented his club at the draw. "We haven't been lucky with the cup draw in recent years and we have bad memories from facing Maccabi Haifa away last season." Betar against Sakhnin is one of three all Premier League ties in the ninth round, with Maccabi Haifa also drawn to visit Maccabi Petah Tikva and Ashdod SC hosting Ironi Kiryat Shmona. The ninth round of the cup is the first in which Israel's Premier League clubs take part in and will be played on February 26. The smallest team drawn on Wednesday by Australian Open champions Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich, was fifth division Hapoel Hadera, which will host Liga Laumit club Maccabi Ahi-Nazareth. Tel Aviv's two big clubs received comfortable draws, with Hapoel to host Hapoel Upper-Nazareth and Maccabi visiting Betar Shimshon Tel Aviv. Also in the ninth round: Ironi Ramat Hasharon vs Hapoel Ra'anana; Hapoel Beer Sheba vs Hapoel Marmorek; Bnei Yehuda vs Maccabi Kfar Kana; Hapoel Petah Tikva vs Maccabi Herzliya; Ironi Bat Yam vs Hakoah Amidar Ramat Gan; Ironi Kiryat Ata vs Bnei Lod; Hapoel Haifa vs Hapoel Kfar Saba; Hapoel Ramat Gan vs Hapoel Asi Gilboa; Ironi Rishon Lezion vs Hapoel Acre; Maccabi Netanya vs Hapoel Umm el-Fahem. Jeremy Last contributed to this report.