State Cup Soccer: Maccabi Haifa, Tel Aviv ease into last 16

No surprises on second night of eighth round; Betar, Hap TA set to go Wednesday.

maccabi netanya maccabi tel aviv 311 (photo credit: MK Productions)
maccabi netanya maccabi tel aviv 311
(photo credit: MK Productions)
Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv cruised into the last 16 of the State Cup on Tuesday night on a day when all the favorites advanced safely.
Israel’s top clubs took notice of Maccabi Kabilio Jaffa’s stunning 1-0 victory over Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Monday and even those who struggled fought their way to victories and booked their place in the ninth round.
Haifa moved a step closer to a first league and cup double since 1991 on Tuesday, crushing National League club Hapoel Kfar Saba 5-0.
“We learned our lesson from the Toto Cup semifinal loss to Hapoel Ra’anana,” said Haifa coach Elisha Levy. “We were ready for the match and did our job. We’re looking good and there’s no reason we shouldn’t continue playing this way.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv couldn’t find its rhythm in the first half against Maccabi Netanya at Bloomfield Stadium, but three goals in seven second half minutes gave it a comfortable 3-1 victory.
“We got a tough draw, but we played well and deserved to win,” Tel Aviv coach Avi Nimni said.
Emmanuel Mayuka scored the opener in the 57th minute and just a minute later he rounded goalkeeper Aristide Zogbo and defender Orel Dgani turned the Zambian’s shot into his own net while attempting to clear the danger.
Ilya Yavruyan secured the victory with an accurate header in the 64th minute and David Gomez’s 76th minute strike was no more than a consolation.
At Kiryat Eliezer Stadium, Haifa’s superiority was never under any doubt and the reigning champion sailed into the next round.
The Premier League’s top-scorer Shlomi Arbeitman showed he knows how to find the back of the net in the cup as well, scoring the opener from the penalty spot in the 29th minute after Vladimir Dvalishvili was brought down in the box.
An Eliran Simon own-goal doubled the Greens advantage five minutes later and Dvalishvili’s header all but clinched the win six minutes after the break.
Mohammad Ghadir got on the scoresheet in the 78th minute and Dvalishvili grabbed his second goal of the night two minutes later to complete the rout.
Meanwhile, all the other favorites also progressed to the ninth round.
Bnei Sakhnin needed extra time to get the better of third division Ironi Umm el-Fahem, but two goals within two minutes ensured it avoided an embarrassing defeat.
Arafat Djako broke the deadlock in the 108th minute and new signing Nastja Ceh doubled Sakhnin’s lead two minutes later to book the team’s place in the last 16.
“We knew it would be difficult and even though we didn’t play well I’m pleased we progressed,” Sakhnin coach Marco Balbul said.
Hapoel Beersheba also struggled against a Liga Alef side, with Maor Melikson scoring the team’s winner against Ironi Netivot in the 75th minute.
Netivot came close to equalizing in the subsequent minutes, but Beersheba held on and Melikson’s delightful free kick from the edge of the area proved to be the only goal of the night.
“Netivot played a defensive game and it was difficult to break them down,” Beersheba coach Guy Azuri said.
Maccabi Petah Tikva thrashed fellow Premier League club Ahi Nazareth 5-1 on its way to the last 16. Vanco Trajanov opened the scoring in the 12th minute and 11 minutes before the break Omer Damari gave the hosts a well-deserved 2-0 lead.
Five minutes into the second half, Trajanov netted his second of the match, but Guy Dayan at least saved some of Nazareth dignity with a goal in the 62nd minute.
However, Dan Roman increased Petah Tikva’s lead 10 minutes later and Dovev Gabay completed the scoring 15 minutes before the final whistle.
Also Tuesday, George Datoru scored in the second minute to give Hapoel Ramat Gan a 1-0 victory over third division club Karmiel/Tzfat SC. Moshe Ben-Lulu scored Ironi Ramat Hasharon’s winner in the final minute of its encounter at Betar Kfar Saba (1-0), with Hapoel Upper Nazareth defeating Hapoel Arad 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 stalemate at the end of extra time.
The remaining six eighth-round encounters will be played on Wednesday.
Hapoel Tel Aviv visits Hapoel Haifa, with Betar Jerusalem traveling to Maccabi Beersheba.
Also Wednesday, Bnei Yehuda hosts Hapoel Acre, Hapoel Petah Tikva welcomes Hapoel Ra’anana, Ashdod SC goes to Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan and Hapoel Ashkelon hosts Ness Ziona.