State Cup Soccer: Hap TA, Bnei Yehuda dreaming of semis

Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Netanya will both be desperate to move a step closer to the State Cup final in this week's quarterfinals, but for entirely different reasons. Two-time defending cup holder Hapoel, which hosts Bnei Yehuda on Tuesday, is going through a grueling survival battle in the Premier League and will be hoping the cup continues to be a pleasant distraction at Bloomfield Stadium on Tuesday. Hapoel is looking to become the first team in 69 years to lift the cup three straight times, but will not have it all its own way against a resurgent Bnei Yehuda. Since Eli Cohen quit as Bnei Yehuda coach two weeks ago the team has won two straight league games under new boss Ya'akov Asayag and, even though relegation is still looking like an almost certainty, the side from south Tel Aviv will be eager to compensate its fans with a win at Bloomfield and a trip to the National Stadium in Ramat Gan for the semis. Maccabi Netanya's league form may be far better than Hapoel Tel Aviv's, but despite constant improvement in recent seasons, success in the cup has proven to be very elusive. Netanya hasn't reached a cup final in 30 years, with its last visit to the title match ending in an historic victory over Bnei Yehuda for its one and only cup triumph. On Tuesday, Netanya hosts second division Hakoakh Amidar Ramat Gan, which knocked out city rival Hapoel Ramat Gan in penalties in the last 16. Hakoakh is top of the second division, but lost 2-1 to Bnei Lod on Saturday and could only manage a 1-1 draw against Hapoel Haifa the previous week. On Wednesday, Betar Jerusalem will look to move a step closer to ending its 19 year cup drought when it hosts Hapoel Kfar Saba at Teddy Stadium. Betar thrashed Hapoel 4-0 when the teams' met at Teddy in the league earlier in the season and won by the exact same score line at Kfar Saba 10 days ago. Also Wednesday, Ironi Kiryat Shmona will host Betar/Shimshon Tel Aviv and will look to end the third division side's Cinderella run.