Three Premier League clubs lose to lower division sides in State Cup.
By ALLON SINAI
Reigning State Cup holder Hapoel Tel Aviv got the defense of its title off to a successful start Tuesday when it defeated Hapoel Jerusalem 3-0 in the ninth round of this season's competition.
However, not all of the Premier League clubs made it safely through to the round of 16, as Maccabi Netanya, Maccabi Herzliya and Hapoel Petah Tikva all failed at the first hurdle after losing to lower league opposition.
National League club Bnei Sakhnin, which won the cup in 2004, needed extra time to knock out Netanya after the hosts scored a stoppage time equalizer. However, just a minute into the extra 30 minutes, Ohad Kadusi scored his second goal of the match and gave the Sakhnin a place in the next round.
Herzliya, which took a big step towards another season in the Premier League with a 5-0 league win over the weekend, was humbled 3-1 after extra time by National League club Hapoel Acre.
Eden Ben-Basat's 46th minute goal gave Herzliya a lead which it held until the 90th minute when Rami Aziz scored the hosts' equalizer. Two more goals for Acre in extra time booked a place in the round of 16 and ended Herzliya's hopes of a repeat of its 2005 State Cup campaign when it reached the final.
Hapoel Herzliya, which was one of four third division clubs to reach the last 16 on Tuesday, defeated Hapoel Petah Tikva 2-0 and added to the Premier League strugglers' misery.
Hapoel Tel Aviv was on its back foot at the start of the match against the National League's Hapoel Jerusalem, but seven minutes before halftime, the hosts took the lead. Salim Toama slipped an excellent ball through to Elyaniv Barda, who easily rounded Jerusalem's 'keeper and gave the Cup holders the lead.
In the 61st minute, Jerusalem was centimeters away from equalizing when Christi Berto hit the post from three meters out.
The visitors would live to regret their missed chances after Ibazito Ogabuna doubled Tel Aviv's lead in the 61st minute with a clinical finish from a Barda assist.
Barda completed a superb day in stoppage time, when he scored his second goal of the match from a Toama cross.
Bnei Sakhnin grabbed the lead in the 13th minute of its match in Netanya after Kadusi controlled Liron Vilner's pass and coolly slotted the ball past the hosts' 'keeper.
Netanya immediately pushed forward in search of an equalizer, but would only find the net two minutes into second half stoppage time when Dedi Ben-Dayan's shot from a tight angle was turned in by Sakhnin 'keeper Meir Cohen.
Despite conceding the heartbreaking goal, Sakhnin retook the lead a minute into extra time thanks to another goal by the talented Kadusi.
Also Tuesday, Maccabi Petah Tikva defeated National League club Ironi Ramat Hasharon 1-0 to book its place in the next round. Omer Golan scored his team's winner in the 89th minute and redeemed midfielder Asi Mashiah, who missed a penalty kick 14 minutes earlier.
Ashdod SC brushed aside third division side Ironi Kiryat Ata 3-1, with all three of the hosts' goals coming in the first half.
In other ninth round matches, it was: Hapoel Ashkelon 2, Hapoel Beer Sheva 0; Hapoel Ramat Gan 1, Hapoel Ra'anana 0 (aet); Hapoel Haifa 3, Maccabi Beersheba 0; Hapoel Upper Nazareth 2, Ironi Kiryat Shmona 0; Hapoel Bnei Lod 3, Maccabi Ahi Nazareth 2 (aet); Betar Shimshon Tel Aviv 3, Hapoel Marmorek 3 (Marmorek won 4-1 in a penalty shootout); Hashikma/Ramat Hen 0, Bnei Jadida 0 (Hashikma/Ramat Hen won 3-2 in a penalty shootout).
Maccabi Tel Aviv's match against Hakoah Amidar Ramat Gan ended after press time.
The final ninth round match will be played on April 17 when Maccabi Haifa hosts Betar Jerusalem.
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