State Cup Soccer: Hapoel, Netanya, win to advance semis

Hapoel Tel Aviv wins 2-0 over Bnei Yehuda, Maccabi Netanya wins 3-0 in penalty shootout against at Hakoakh Amidar Ramat Gan.

jp.services2 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
Fabio Junior continued his knack of scoring crucial goals for Hapoel Tel Aviv on Tuesday, grabbing the opener in his team's 2-0 victory over Bnei Yehuda in the State Cup quarterfinals at Bloomfield Stadium. Junior gave Hapoel the all-important lead in the 43rd minute and the two-time defending cup holder is now just two wins away from becoming the first team in 69 years to lift the cup three straight years. Also Tuesday, Maccabi Netanya moved within one win of its first cup final in 30 years with a 3-0 penalty shootout victory at Hakoakh Amidar Ramat Gan after extra-time ended in a 1-1 draw. 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. Also Wednesday, Ironi Kiryat Shmona will host Betar/Shimshon Tel Aviv and will look to end the third division side's Cinderella run. At Bloomfield, Hapoel was the sharper team at the start of the match, with Bibres Natcho slamming his shot against the post in the fifth minute. Four minutes later Imoro Lukman almost gave Bnei Yehuda the lead against the run of play when Tel Aviv keeper Vincent Enyeama completely missed a cross and Lukman headed the ball centimeters wide of the post. The first half of the tight affair seemed to be heading to a goalless ending, but two minutes before halftime Junior released a bullet from the edge of the box to give Hapoel the lead. In the 57th minute Natcho squandered a golden opportunity to double his side's lead, sending his shot from five meters out well wide. Bnei Yehuda tired as the match progressed and in the 76th minute Hapoel secured its place in the semifinals after Dimitar Telkiyski slotted his free kick from the edge of the area past the helpless Bnei Yehuda keeper Dele Aiyenugba. In Ramat Gan, Hakoakh dominated the proceedings in the first half, but still entered the interval a goal down. The visitors took the lead with their first chance of the match in the 19th minute thanks to their Cameroonian connection. Francis Kioyo put through Thierry Tazemeta, who blasted the opener past former Israel goalkeeper Rafi Cohen. Eight minutes after the break Shtrauber single handedly kept the visitors in front when he kept out Benny Hadad's curler with a wonderful save. A minute later, however, there was nothing the Netanya keeper could do to deny Hakoakh the equalizer it so deserved. Dedi Ben-Dayan pulled down Asi Domb in the box and Barak Badash converted the penalty to tie the score. Ramat Gan's goal galvanized Netanya and in the 73rd minute the visitors hit the post twice within 30 seconds. Itai Shechter's shot after a solo effort hit the upright and was cleared, and from the subsequent corner Avi Strol's header went out off the post. In the second minute of stoppage time Strol was shown a second yellow card for diving and Netanya was content on defending in the extra period and the match would have to be decided by penalties. The penalty shootout was a one sided affair after Badash hit the post and Didi Unger's and Tomer Eliyahu's shots were saved by Shtrauber. Yehiel Tzagai, Dela Yampolsky and Luis Marin all scored for Maccabi and booked its place in the last four.