State Cup Soccer: Yellow-and-blue sent packing by Hap PT

Eksbard’s brace helps avenge fresh PL loss, knocks Mac TA out of State Cup; Acre out also.

hapoel petah tikva_311 (photo credit: (Adi Avishai))
hapoel petah tikva_311
(photo credit: (Adi Avishai))
Maccabi Tel Aviv crashed out of the State Cup at the first hurdle on Tuesday night, losing 3-1 to Hapoel Petah Tikva in the eighth round at National Stadium in Ramat Gan.
Maccabi entered the match brimming with confidence after winning three straight Premier League contests under new coach Moti Ivanir, the latest being a 1-0 victory at Hapoel Petah Tikva on Saturday.
However, Tel Aviv followed up its mediocre performance on Saturday with a poor display three days later and deserved to be knocked out in the last 32.
“Unfortunately we lost tonight, but these types of results happen in the cup,” Ivanir said. “We made all the right preparations, but we didn’t execute and for much of the match we played poorly. We are trying to do the best we can, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out.”
After a largely eventless first 40 minutes to the match, Petah Tikva, which is in second-to-last place in the league standings, took a surprise lead.
Ido Eksbard controlled Yaniv Luzon’s cross to perfection and blasted the ball beyond a helpless Liran Strauber.
Ivanir made all three of his substitutions by the 56th minute and the equalizer would soon arrive.
Yoav Ziv squared the ball from the left and Eliran Atar was on hand to tie the score at 1-1 in the 58th minute.
It seemed as though Maccabi would go on to dominate proceedings, but 11 minutes later it was Petah Tikva which went ahead once more.
Guy Tzarfati crossed the ball and Eksbard’s header was parried into the back of the net by Strauber.
Petah Tikva completed the win in the 80th minute, with Roei Gordana’s cool finish finally giving the hosts something to smile about in a difficult season.
In Tuesday's only other real surprise, Hapoel Acre suffered a shock 2-0 home defeat to Ironi Jatt, which is in 13th position in the National League.
Yossi Janach gave the visitors the lead in the 60th minute, with Ami Gilbert clinching the win four minutes from time.
Also Tuesday, it was: Maccabi Netanya 4, Bnei Yehuda 1; Hapoel Afula 1, Hapoel Beersheba 4; Hapoel Ashkelon 1, Ironi Bat Yam 0; Maccabi Herzliya 2, Maccabi Tamra 0; Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan 0, Hapoel Ra’anana 2 (AET); Hapoel Jerusalem 2, Maccabi Beersheba 0; Ness Tziona 1, Ironi Netivot 0.
In Netanya, two goals in the final eight minutes of the first half gave the hosts a well-deserved lead.
Netanya received a spot kick after Bnei Yehuda’s Aviv Hadad handled the ball in the box and Ahmed Saba slotted in the penalty in the 37th minute.
Five minutes later, Bnei Yehuda’s defense was once more caught napping and Nir Nahum smashed in Netanya’s second goal of the night.
Netanya’s new signing Sergy Tretyak clinched the win with his second goal in four days, lobbing Bnei Yehuda ’keeper Dele Aiyenugba in the 62nd minute, and Saba scored his second of the night two minutes later.
George Amsis scored a consolation goal for Bnei Yehuda in the 66th minute.
On Wednesday, reigning-cup holder and Premier League leader Hapoel Tel Aviv visits Kiryat Ata, which is only fourth in Liga Alef Tzafon.
Also Wednesday, Betar Jerusalem visits Hapoel Ramat Gan, Maccabi Petah Tikva welcomes Ashdod SC, Maccabi Haifa travels to Hapoel Kfar Saba and Maccabi Daliyat al-Karmel visits Hapoel Haifa.