Netanya notch rare road win at Kiryat Shmona

State Cup: K8 denied elusive local treble after falling 2-1 in State Cup Last of 16; Mac Haifa, Hap TA advance.

Mirko Oremus 390 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Mirko Oremus 390
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Netanya ended Ironi Kiryat Shmona’s dream of claiming an unprecedented local treble on Wednesday night, beating the Premier League leader 2-1 on the road in the last 16 of the State Cup.
Netanya is the only team to win in Kiryat Shmona in the Premier League this season and it proved that its victory in the second weekend of the season was no coincidence with another impressive showing up north on Wednesday.
Kiryat Shmona controlled the early going, but it had little to show for its superior possession and Netanya hit the hosts on the break in the 37th minute.
Firas Mugrabi’s delightful pass left Ahmed Saba with only ‘keeper Danny Amos to beat and the Premier League’s leading scorer needed just one touch of the ball to give the visitors the lead.
Eight minutes after the break Netanya doubled its advantage, with Mugrabi once more providing the assist, this time for Hen Ezra who rounded Amos before firing into an empty net.
Substitute Barak Badash ensured there would be an exciting finish to the match when he got a goal back for Kiryat Shmona in the 79th minute, but the northerners, who lead the league by 17 points and can clinch the championship this weekend, failed to score a second and dropped to a disappointing defeat, a very rare occurrence for them this season.
“We played okay, but in the cup this can happen,” said Kiryat Shmona coach Ran Ben-Shimon. “We conceded the first goal against the run of play, but despite the defeat this season has been a massive success.
“Winning the championship and the Toto Cup in one season is a great achievement for Kiryat Shmona.”
Netanya coach Reuven Atar was delighted after seeing his team win for the fifth time in six matches in all competitions.
“We have been playing very well recently,” said Atar. “We managed to spoil their ball movement and for a second time this season we got the better of the leading team in Israeli soccer today.”
While Kiryat Shmona could afford to treat the cup as a bonus, Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa entered their matches against National League opponents on Wednesday desperate for a cup triumph in the hope of salvaging something from a dismal season.
Haifa was poor for 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of extra-time, but it survived a penalty shootout against Hapoel Kfar Saba, advancing to the quarterfinals with a 4-3 win in penalties after extra-time ended in a 0-0 deadlock.
After one miss each, Ran Kadosh blasted Herzliya’s fifth penalty off the crossbar and moments later defender Sari Falach secured Haifa’s progress.
Hapoel Tel Aviv looked to be in real trouble at halftime of its match against Bnei Lod, but it came back from being down both a goal and a man at the break to win 3-1 after extra-time.
Salem Abu Siam scored from the penalty spot in stoppage time to give Lod the lead following Apoula Edel’s foul on Murad Abu Anza which also resulted in a red card for the Tel Aviv goalkeeper.
However, it took Hapoel just 10 seconds from the start of the second half to equalize, with a swift team move ending with an accurate effort by Mirko Oremus.
The tie went into extra-time after neither team was willing to commit players forward in the second half, but after less than two minutes of the extra period, Hapoel took the lead through Nosa Igiebor.
The Nigerian found the back of the net from 20 meters out and went on to clinch the win in the 115th minute when he rounded the ‘keeper to score with ease.
“We knew we were facing a tough team, one which is just as good as half of the teams in the Premier League,” said Hapoel coach Nitzan Shirazi, who is expected to sign a two-year extension later this week.
“I told my players that the DNA of this club does not allow us to be knocked out by Lod and they gave their all and won the match.”
Netanya, Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa join Ashdod SC, Maccabi Petah Tikva, Hapoel Ramat Hasharon and National League sides Hapoel Upper Nazareth and Maccabi Herzliya who all advanced to the last eight on Tuesday.