Mac TA looks to keep rolling vs Hap PT

Ivanir’s men hit State Cup rd. of 32 on 3-match streak; Netanya faces Bnei Yehuda.

Gal Alberman 58 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Gal Alberman 58
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv goes in search of its fourth straight win under Moti Ivanir when it visits Hapoel Petah Tikva at National Stadium in Ramat Gan in the eighth round of the State Cup on Tuesday.
The yellow-and-blue has won three successive league matches since Ivanir took charge in place of Avi Nimni and Yossi Mizrahi, closing to within four points of league-leader Hapoel Tel Aviv ahead of Sunday’s much-anticipated derby.
However, Ivanir does not want his players to be thinking about the reigning- champion just yet, having still to overcome a tricky road encounter at Petah Tikva three days after needing an own-goal to claim a 1-0 victory over Yuval Naim’s men.
“We didn’t play well, but we at least managed to win,” Ivanir told his players ahead of their second meeting in three days against Petah Tikva. “We need to be fully focused on the cup match. The derby is irrelevant at the moment. We must first win the game against Petah Tikva.
“It is not easy to play the same team twice in a row, but we will have to deal with that.”
In the other all-Premier League match in the round of 32 of the cup on Tuesday, Maccabi Netanya hosts Bnei Yehuda.
Netanya has struggled recently, winning just one of its last six league contests, while Bnei Yehuda has won two of its past three matches.
Three more top-flight teams will be in action on Tuesday, with Hapoel Beersheba visiting Hapoel Afula, Hapoel Ashkelon hosting Ironi Bat Yam and Hapoel Acre welcoming Ironi Jatt.
In Tuesday’s other matches, it’s Maccabi Herzliya vs Maccabi Tamra; Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan vs Hapoel Ra’anana; Hapoel Jerusalem vs Maccabi Beersheba; and Ness Tziona vs Ironi Netivot.
With its Premier League title-defense back on track, Hapoel Tel Aviv will turn its attention to retaining the State Cup it won last season when it visits third division Ironi Kiryat Ata on Wednesday.
While Hapoel has won seven of its last eight league matches to move into first position in the standings, Kiryat Ata is only fourth in Liga Alef Tzafon.
Tel Aviv will clearly be a massive favorite to advance to the round of 16, with its biggest obstacle likely being the pitch at Kiryat Ata, which has deteriorated in recent days due to the wintry weather.
Also Wednesday, Betar Jerusalem visits Hapoel Ramat Gan, Maccabi Petah Tikva welcomes Ashdod SC and Maccabi Haifa travels to Hapoel Kfar Saba.
Maccabi Daliyat al-Carmel visits Hapoel Haifa looking to follow in the footsteps of Maccabi Kabilio Jaffa, which became the first fourth division club in 47 years to reach the last 16 of the cup last season.