State Cup: Netanya ousts Haifa with shocking win

Defending champs Hapoel Tel Aviv catch a lucky break and advance to quarters.

shechter 224.88 (photo credit: asaf kliger)
shechter 224.88
(photo credit: asaf kliger)
Roni Levy's hopes of finishing his Maccabi Haifa career on a high were ended on Wednesday by Maccabi Netanya. Haifa announced on Sunday that Levy will be leaving the club at the end of the season and the coach had hoped to end his five years at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium with a State Cup triumph. Levy and Haifa, however, couldn't even advance to the quarterfinals at Netanya, crashing out of the competition in the last 16 with a 1-0 loss to the local Maccabi. "Maccabi Netanya hasn't reached the cup final in 30 years and I hope we can end that run this year," said Netanya coach Reuven Atar. "We played very well in the second half and it was very important to us to advance." Also Wednesday, two-time defending cup holder Hapoel Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Beersheba 1-0 after extra time and Ironi Kiryat Shmona continued its excellent season, advancing to the last eight with a 2-1 victory over Ironi Kiryat Ata. Netanya, Tel Aviv and Kiryat Shmona join Betar Jerusalem, Bnei Yehuda, Hapoel Kfar Saba, Betar/Shimshon Tel Aviv and Hakoah Amidar Ramat Gan in the quarterfinal draw to be held next Monday at National Stadium in Ramat Gan. In Netanya, the visitors created the better chances in the first half, but it was the hosts who eventually took the lead. In the 54th minute Dedi Ben-Dayan struck a superb cross from the left flank and Itai Shechter met the ball perfectly with his head to score the opener and loan tally. In stoppage time keeper Liran Shtrauber secured Netanya's win with an acrobatic save from Renato's header. Hapoel Beersheba 0, Hapoel Tel Aviv 1 The cup holder should have found itself a goal down three minutes after the break, but an astonishing miss by Evyatar Iloz saved Tel Aviv's blushes. The Beersheba defender rounded keeper Vincent Enyeama, but from one meter out he managed to hit his shot straight at Walid Badier, who was standing on the goal line. In the 65th minute the hosts finally scored, but Shay Birok's goal was wrongly disallowed and extra time was needed after neither team managed to break the goalless deadlock. Unsurprisingly, Beersheba would live to rue its missed chances when in the 102nd minute of the match substitute Shlomi Arbaitman took advantage of an awful defensive blunder to head in the winner. "In a cup match you have to do whatever you can to advance and that's not an easy thing to achieve in Beersheba," Tel Aviv coach Eli Gutman said. Ironi Kiryat Shmona 2, Ironi Kiryat Ata 1 Yuval Shabtai gave the third division club a shock lead in the 16th minute with a cracking shot from the edge of the area. Three minutes later the hosts were centimeters away from tying the score, but Guy Tzarfati's shot came off the crossbar to Kiryat Ata's relief. In the 32nd minute, however, Kiryat Shmona finally scored the equalizer after Salah Hasarma surprised the visitors' keeper with a shot from 25 meters out. Three minutes before the interval Kiryat Shmona completed its comeback and took a lead it wouldn't relinquish. Shabtai was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box and Tzarfati scored from the penalty spot with ease. "In the cup the only important thing is the final result and I'm glad we advanced," man-of-the-match Tzarfati said.