Local Soccer: Mac TA advances to Toto Cup semis

An uninspiring 1-0 victory over Bnei Yehuda at Bloomfield makes Mac TA the 3rd team to progress to semis.

Barak Itzhaki betar mac ta 248 88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Barak Itzhaki betar mac ta 248 88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv became the third team to progress to the semifinals of the Toto Cup with an uninspiring 1-0 victory over Bnei Yehuda at Bloomfield on Wednesday. The stadium was empty of supporters due to a punishment imposed on Maccabi for racist chanting by its fans last month. Bnei Yehuda had won the first leg 2-1, also at Bloomfield where the team from south Tel Aviv also plays its home games. But the crucial "away" goal scored by Maccabi ensured it only needed to win by a single goal in the second match. Maor Buzaglo scored the only goal of the game in the 22nd minute on Wednesday, controlling a clever Dor Malul chip on his chest in the six yard box before turning tightly and volleying home. Buzaglo was by far the best player on the pitch, testing Bnei Yehuda goalkeeper Dele Aiyenugba early on with a stunning long-range effort. The one negative for Maccabi was the loss of Armenian striker Ilya Yavorian, who appeared to have broken his hand after falling awkwardly when jumping for a header. An ambulance was called and it took six minutes for the former Bnei Sakhnin forward to have his arm and hand bandaged up. "I am happy about advancing but I hope the injury to Ilya [Yavorian] won't be a very long-term injury," under-fire Maccabi coach Avi Nimni said after the game. The fourth and final Toto Cup quarterfinal between Bnei Sakhnin and Ironi Kiryat Shmona will be played next Tuesday at a neutral venue, with the winner advancing to the last four. The IFA decided that although the tie was supposed to be played over two legs like the other three quarterfinals, it will be condensed into one match to save time. Also Wednesday, the police decided that Bnei Sakhnin can host its Premier League match against Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan at the Doha Stadium after all. On Tuesday, the Israel Football Association announced that under police orders Sakhnin would have to move its match to a different stadium, but now that the police orders have changed the team can play in Sakhnin on Saturday.