Hapoel Beer Sheva won their first Israel State Cup since 1997 as they defeated Maccabi Petah Tikva 2-0 at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv. Attacking midfielder Josue was the man of the match as the Portuguese sensation assisted on Ben Sahar’s opening goal and then scored the second to give Head Coach Yossi Abuksis his second State Cup in a row.
Abuksis had won the trophy last season while in charge of Bnei Yehuda and became only the third coach to win back to back State Cups with two different teams with the league being Shlomo Sharf who turned the feat with Kfar Saba and Bnei Yehuda. The last time Beer Sheva featured in the final was 2015 when they were stomped by Maccabi Tel Aviv 6-2 at Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa.
“This was fabulous” said an exuberant Abuksis. “To win the State Cup two straight seasons is something very special. We were able to navigate through some very tough opponents and all of our games were all played on the road. That makes this title that much more sweeter. We have been preparing for this game throughout the championship playoffs and we came into money time in perfect shape.”
The star of the show Josue also looked back on the victory, “The entire team played a part in winning the State Cup. This was a difficult and challenging season and one that was very unusual due to the break. But everyone who is part fo this club deserves this title. I love playing here and my teammates know exactly what I am going to do on the field. We’re going to enjoy this.”
Guy Luzon, the man in charge of Maccabi Petah Tikva had looked to add another award this campaign after guiding his squad from the second division to the Premier League and become the first team since Ramat Gan in 2003 to win the Cup from a lower league. The first time Petah Tikva won the trophy was in 1935 before the founding of the state while the last time they advanced to the final was in 2001 when they fell 3-0 to Maccabi Tel Aviv.
“I believe that the experience and quality of Beer Sheva was what helped them to a tremendous second half and that was what made the difference,” said a disappointed Luzon. “The goal that they scored at the start of the second half gave them a lot of energy and mixed us up bit. They deserved the Cup and were better than us.”
Each team disposed of quality sides in order to make their way to the final as Beer Sheva defeated Ashdod, Maccabi Netanya, Maccabi Haifa and Bnei Yehuda. Petah Tikva beat Hapoel Ramat Gan, Kiryat Shemona, Nof Galil, Beitar Jerusalem and Hapoel Tel Aviv to reach the title game.
The contest began heating up early as each side had a chance in the opening minutes as Arad Bar’s 28 meter opportunity for Petah Tikva went by the goal while Josue for Beer Sheva’s attempt from just outside of the box was taken care of by keeper Dor Hevron. Josue was at the center of attention in the 12th minute when his corner kick went directly to Marwan Kabha whose header just missed the target as the game remained goalless.
Petah Tikva almost got on the board when Or Inbrum’s 35th minute scorcher just grazed the bar while Josue once again had a chance to score on a gorgeous free kick but the ball just whet wide of the goal as the half came to an end all knotted up a 0-0.
However, the game didn’t stay as is for long as Josue finally helped put Beer Sheva ahead as the midfielder sent winger Ben Sahar a fantastic through ball that the latter easily slipped by Hevron for a 1-0 lead in the 48th minute. The ever present Josue then scored a goal of his own when he delightfully struck the ball from long distance that beat Hevron to double the advantage.
Sahar had a chance to bag a brace off a header from a corner kick but his effort missed the target in the 67th minute while an Oren Bitton goal was called off in injury time as Hapoel Beer Sheva wrapped up a 2-0 win to take home the 2020 Israel State Cup.