Maccabi advances to State Cup QF

Maccabi Tel Aviv visited Leumit League side Hapoel Rishon Le’Zion in the Israel State Cup Round of 16 looking to punch their ticket to the quarterfinals

In a match that featured a debut goal by Orlando Sa, another bicycle kick strike by Zahavi, a red card to Ben Harush and extra time, Maccabi was able to find a way past Leumit outfit Rishon Le’Zion at Haberfeld Stadium. The 2:1 victory sends the Yellow-and-Blue to the quarterfinals against Hapoel Kfar Saba in a two legged tie in the months of February and March.

Dov Halickman Photography

Dov Halickman Photography

Head Coach Peter Bosz made a number of changes from the starting lineup that defeated Maccabi Petach Tikva this past Saturday night as the Dutchman handed keeper Daniel Lifshitz his second start in the competition. In front of the Swedish born shot stopper was a defense consisting of Eli Dasa, Omri Ben Harush, Tal Ben Haim and Eitan Tibi. Gal Alberman, Shlomi Azulay and Avi Rikan were the midfielders with Eden Ben Basat, Dor Micha and Captain Eran Zahavi playing up front.

Dov Halickman Photography

Dov Halickman Photography

The Yellow-and-Blue came out roaring and took the game to hosts during the first quarter hour of the match. Ben Basat had the club’s opening opportunity as his header went over the bar in the 9th minute. That was followed by a Shlomi Azulay effort that went wide right two minutes later and a pair of long efforts by Ben Harush and Dasa that couldn’t find the back of the goal.

Dov Halickman Photography

Dov Halickman Photography

However, Rishon did just that at the opposite end of the pitch. After a hard foul by Ben Haim just outside of the box, Muhamad Abu El Iga gave his side a 1:0 lead in the 21st minute on a perfect free kick. The Rishon Le’Zion defender cleanly beat Lifshitz, pounding the ball into the top left hand side of the goal.

Dov Halickman Photography

Dov Halickman Photography

Maccabi looked for an equalizer as Ben Harush’s long range scorcher went over the goal while two Zahavi free kicks from just outside of the box couldn’t beat Rishon keeper Matan Ambar. Yuval Shpungin was introduced in the 33rd minute coming on for an injured Ben Haim as the Yellow-and-Blue went into the lockerroom down by a goal at the break.

Dov Halickman Photography

Dov Halickman Photography

Maccabi coach Peter Bosz made his second substitution of the match bringing on new acquisition Orlando Sa for Azulay to begin the half as he looked to jump start his club’s offense. Zahavi had an opportunity from short range but the Rishon keeper was in the right place to pick up the ball in the 58th minute. Minutes later Sa and Zahavi each had a chance to tie up the game but the former fanned on the ball and the latter hit the bar. Then Alberman drilled a 70th minute effort off of the bar as Maccabi came closer and closer to the Rishon goal.

With less than twenty minutes left in the match, Bosz made his final substitution bringing on striker Barak Itzhaki for Rikan as number 10 joined the attacking fray. And what would you know, Maccabi would score the equalizer just seconds later. Eli Dasa swung the ball into the box from the right side and Sa headed the ball past Ambar as the striker paid dividends in his first appearance with his new club drawing Maccabi even in the 74th minute.

Zahavi had an incredible chance to give his side the lead but his 77th minute effort was pawed away by Ambar and Ben Basat’s header chance in the 85th minute went over the bar as the match headed into extra time tied at 1:1.

Dov Halickman Photography

Dov Halickman Photography

As the match headed into extra time Maccabi looked for a hero. And who else could it be but none other than Eran Zahavi. In the 101st minute the captain took a Micha pass and went airborne to bicycle kick the ball into the goal to give the Yellow-and-Blue a 2:1 lead. But just before the first extra time half ended Ben Harush was shown red for pulling down the last Rishon attacker before the Maccabi goal giving the hosts an extra man for the balance of the 120 minute period.

Rishon looked to find the tying goal but 10-man Maccabi was able to hold on and advance to the quarter finals of the State Cup against Hapoel Kfar Saba.

Dov Halickman Photography

Dov Halickman Photography

Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Peter Bosz:

Peter Bosz, the Yellow-and-Blue Head Coach guided his team to the quarterfinals of the Israel State Cup tournament after coming out on top of Rishon Le’Zion 2:1 at Haberfeld Stadium. New acquisition Orlando Sa scored his first goal with Maccabi that was also the tying goal in a tough 120 minute match. Eran Zahavi produced another hi-light reel bicycle kick goal in extra time to win the game in a hard fought battle that left many of the players a bit beaten up:

“It was exciting and I came here to win the Cup game but I was hoping we would have done it in 90 minutes. If you look inside our dressing room you can see the guys and they feel it.”

Other times he’s experienced these type of Cup matches:

“Yes, when I coached Heracles we had an away match semifinal that we drew even and then we won.”

About Rishon Le’Zion’s play:

“No, they did fantastic and I was not surprised. They played a very compact match and I was not surprised. We had to move the ball around with a high tempo which we did in the first half. But then they scored a terrific free kick goal and when you are behind it becomes difficult. I think we rushed too much and in the second half we had some chances and we scored. We took a chance making a third substitution and bringing in Barak Itzhaki while we were still down 1:0 with 20 minutes to go. We ended up scoring immediately after his introduction and had a number of chances in regulation time but we didn’t find the winner in the 90 minutes so we had to play overtime.”

Emotions after a hard fought victory:

“I’m only angry with players when they don’t work hard and when they are not giving everything for a good result. Today when you play against a team that is highly motivated they were very close to their own box. Once they scored they became even more motivated and it was more difficult to come back. We scored two fantastic goals, the first on Orlando’s header and the second from Eran. Those were good goals, but it’s never easy when you are down by a goal.”

The injuries picked up by the players during the match:

“Some players just have cramps which in two days they’ll be ok but other players like Tal Ben Haim, he took a knee against his bone and we will have to see after training and judge then how bad the injuries are. Everybody gave their best and you can see it with the end result.”

What he told the player after the match:

“I always say something after every game. Sometimes I’m angry, sometimes not. Today I said congratulations because we came here to win and that’s what we did and it wasn’t easy. I also told them that they have to recover fast because we have a very important game in three days.”

Lessons learned:

“Football is also a sport from experience and we all absolutely learned something from this game. Omri Ben Harush has also learned something from this game for sure and everyone will as well.”

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