Soccer: Netanya sneaks into quarterfinals

Defeat of Hapoel Bnei Tamra makes Netanya first team to lock a spot in the State Cup.

Maccabi Netanya 298.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Netanya 298.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Netanya was the first team to book its place in the quarterfinals of the State Cup on Tuesday night, defeating Hapoel Bnei Tamra 1-0 in quite unconvincing fashion. Instead of dominating the third-division club, as expected, Netanya played down to the level of Tamra, struggling to create scoring opportunities and only finding the back of the net thanks to a questionable penalty call. Dedi Ben-Dayan scored Maccabi's winner from the penalty spot in the 69th minute, and Netanya will quickly want to forget Tuesday's performance and just focus on the fact that it is through to the last eight of the competition. "The only thing anyone will remember is which team advanced and we're already looking forward to Saturday's league match against Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan," Ben-Dayan said. The hosts registered just one scoring chance in a very poor first half, with Alberto Zapata's quick turn and shot in the center of the box finding 'keeper Roei Leibowitz placed perfectly a minute before the interval. Netanya continued to stoop to the standard of its lowly opponent in the second half, but the theatrics of Itai Shechter would give the team the lead. Just minutes after coming on as a substitute, Shechter fell to the ground far too easily, but the referee decided to award Maccabi a penalty and Ben-Dayan converted the spot kick to give the side a 1-0 lead in the 69th minute. Netanya settled for its slender lead, and with Tamra far from aggressive on the attack, the hosts had no real trouble maintaining their advantage and advancing to the quarterfinals. On Wednesday, cup holder Betar Jerusalem, which defeated Ironi Kiryat Shmona 4-3 in the ninth round, will host third division Hapoel Acre. The most intriguing match-up of the last 16 will be played on Thursday when the Premier League's top two teams, Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Tel Aviv, meet at Bloomfield Stadium. The remaining round of 16 matches will be played next Tuesday. The match-ups are as follows: Bnei Yehuda vs Bnei Sakhnin; Ironi Kiryat Ata vs Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan; Ashdod SC vs Ness Ziona; Hapoel Petah Tikva vs Hapoel Kfar Saba; and Ahi Nazareth vs Hapoel Ashkelon.