Local Soccer: Sakhnin rounds out State Cup last 8

Though Bnei Yehuda was the favorite, coach Eran Kulik works wonders.

bnei sakhnin in goal 88 (photo credit: )
bnei sakhnin in goal 88
(photo credit: )
Bnei Sakhnin claimed the eighth and final spot in Thursday's State Cup quarterfinal draw after defeating Bnei Yehuda 2-0 at Bloomfield Stadium on Wednesday night. Bnei Yehuda was the favorite entering the match, but coach Eran Kulik has worked wonders at Sakhnin since replacing Eyal Lachman last week and his team thoroughly deserved to win on Wednesday. "We once more showed an improvement and, most importantly, won the match to advance," Kulik said. Bnei Yehuda coach Guy Luzon was bitterly disappointed with his team's performance. "Our opponent wanted to win more than us. We don't deserve to be in the next round and Sakhnin does," Luzon said. Bnei Sakhnin joins Maccabi Netanya, Betar Jerusalem, Maccabi Haifa, Ashdod SC, Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan, and the National League's Hapoel Kfar Saba and Ahi Nazareth in Thursday's draw at Israel Football Association headquarters in Ramat Gan. Sakhnin easily held off Bnei Yehuda's attacks throughout Wednesday's match and caught the hosts by surprise time and again with aggressive breaks forward. Bnei Yehuda reached its best chance of the first half in the 25th minute when Oz Rali's header got past 'keeper Meir Cohen, only to be cleared off the line by Ali Ottman. Five minutes later the visitors took the lead. Hamad Ganayem's free kick was easily headed in by Okocha, stunning the local support. Bnei Yehuda pushed forward in search of an equalizer, but Sakhnin's disciplined display kept the hosts at bay. Five minutes into the second half, the visitors all but booked their place in the last eight when Ottman raced into the box, beating four players on the right flank, before his shot was blocked by Kfir Edri's outstretched hands. Khaled Khalaila coolly converted the spot kick and kept alive Sakhnin's dream of repeating its 2004 cup triumph.