Local Soccer: Ramat-Gan claims cup with upset

Hapoel Ramat Gan claims second State Cup in club's history with penalty win after extra-time.

HAPOEL RAMAT GAN State Cup win 2013 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
HAPOEL RAMAT GAN State Cup win 2013 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Despite being relegated from the Premier League just two weeks ago, Hapoel Ramat Gan claimed a second State Cup in club history in Netanya on Wednesday, beating Ironi Kiryat Shmona 4-2 in penalties after extra-time ended in a 1-1 draw.
Kiryat Shmona entered the final as a firm favorite and took the lead through Shimon Abu Haziera after 17 minutes.
However, Omer Buksenboim leveled the score six minutes into the second half and Ramat Gan prevailed in penalties to lift the cup for a second time and a first since 2003.
After both teams scored their first two penalties, Kiryat Shmona missed twice and Israel Zaguri clinched the triumph to the delight of the long suffering Ramat Gan fans.
Kiryat Shmona took the lead after 17 minutes with its first real chance of the night.
Abu Haziera’s weak yet accurate shot got the better of much-maligned goalkeeper Itay Arkin, who was slow to react.
Ramat Gan had a golden opportunity to equalize one minute from the break, but Zaguri fluffed his effort from close range.
Ramat Gan burst out of the gate at the start of the second half and scored a deserved equalizer after six minutes.
Buksenboim, the only remnant from the Ramat Gan squad that claimed the cup in 2003, had time and space in the box and he made the most of his chance to score.
Both teams had opportunities to decide the match in regulation and extra time, with Ramat Gan’s Ofir Hemo being sent off 10 minutes from the end of the additional period.
However, neither could break the deadlock and Ramat Gan celebrated long into the night after winning on penalties.