Israeli State Cup Semi Finals
Maccabi Haifa beat MS Ashdod 2-1 to advance to the Israeli State Cup final in a repeat of last year’s final against Hapoel Tel Aviv. Dela Yamplolsky scored first for Haifa with a goal from 20 yards out, which deflected off Nir Biton, completing wrong footing the keeper Ofir Martziano. Nir Biton then equalized after heading from a long free kick unmarked inside the 18 yard box. Biton is likely to leave in the summer and showed some of his quality on the goal with a well directed header. In the second half Yaniv Katan scored a spectacular goal in to the left hand corner of the net from 20 yards out. The Ashdod keeper had no chance. The State Cup Final will be a last hurrah for current Haifa manager Elisha Levy who will be replaced in the summer.
Hapoel Tel Aviv beat Ramat HaSharon to join Maccabi Haifa in the winner’s circle this evening. Both teams were deadlocked at the end of the 90 minutes but Hapoel managed to score 3 goals in extra time to secure their advancement to the final. Omer Damari started the scoring in the 96th minute with a good header from a corner. This opened the floodgates; Toto Tamuz ran past his defender and shot into the corner with the keeper only being able to get a hand on it, but not doing enough to keep it out. Then in the 118th minute Salim Toama struck a great shot, first time with his left foot that swerved away from the keeper and into the side of the net from about 25 yards out. Hapoel will be favorites in the final after Haifa have shown inconsistent form all season, but Haifa will be looking to salvage their pride from a bad season and secure a spot in Europe for next year.