Maccabi Tel Aviv captured the Israel State Cup as they defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv 2-1 in extratime in an entertaining game at Bloomfield Stadium. The Reds grabbed a first half lead thanks to Omri Altman, but substitute Yonatan Cohen headed home the equalizer in the second half as the game went into the extra session.
Luis Hernandez gave the yellow-and-blue a 2-1 advantage but Shai Eisen drew Hapoel even, however, the goal was disallowed due to an earlier foul which led to coach Nir Klinger’s ejection as Patrick Van Leeuwen’s squad wrapped up their first Cup since 2015.
Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Tel Aviv faced on another in the Israel State Cup Derby for the first time since 1994 when the yellow-and-blue held the upper hand with a 2-0 win over their city rivals. Interestingly enough in that game current Hapoel Tel Aviv coach Nir Klinger scored one of the goals. In league play this season Maccabi finished in 2nd place and Hapoel 11th position on the table as Patrick Van Leeuwen’s team won the first meeting between the teams and drew the second match.
In order to reach the final Maccabi defeated Hapoel Beer Sheva, Hapoel Haifa, Ashdod and Maccabi Haifa as Hapoel got by Hapoel Ashkelon, Maccabi Netanya, Hapoel Kfar Shelem and Beitar Tel Aviv Bat Yam.
With outgoing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in attendance and over 30,000 fans split evenly throughout the stadium, Maccabi had the game’s first chance as Enric Saborit’s smart shot was smothered by Reds keeper Ernestas Setkus in the 14th minute.
The yellow-and-blue continued to control the pace of play but chances were at a premium but Klinger’s side made the most of their first opportunity. Shlomi Azulay headed the ball down to the ground in the box and former Maccabi attacker Omri Altman cleanly put it behind a helpless Daniel Tenenbaum for a 1-0 Hapoel lead in the 31st minute.
Van Leeuwen’s squad almost immediately responded at the other end by Itay Shechter’s scorcher went off the woodwork while Matan Baltaxa’s ball went out. As play began to heat up, Azulay almost doubled the Reds advantage but Tenenbaum cut off the angle while at the other end, Dor Peretz’s header off a Tal Ben Chaim free kick went out as the half ended with Hapoel holding a 1-0 lead.
Maccabi made a substitute at the break as Matan Hozez came on to replace Tal Ben Chaim and tried his luck just after entering the fray but his ball was off the mark while Saborit’s chance went way wide and Baltaxa cleared the bar.
Hozez went in off the right wing but his shot was saved by Setkus as Van Leeuwen brought on Yonatan Cohen and Dan Bitton in place of Itay Shechter and Sheran Yeini to freshen up the offense. Klinger made his first move of the game as well introducing Emmanuel Boateng for Azulay in order to bunker up and hold onto the lead.
However, Maccabi had other plans as Dan Glazer who had been quiet all game lofted a brilliant ball into the box that Yonatan Cohen headed behind Setkus with his back to the goal to draw the yellow-and-blue even at 1-1 in the 73rd minute.
Hapoel brought on Raz Stain for Osher Davida following the strike while Cohen’s header off a Bitton throw in was caught by an alert Setkus as regulation time wound down. Just before extratime Hapoel made another substitute as Shai Eisen entered the game for Shai Elias.
Maccabi went right for the goal as the extratime period began and they found it quickly when Bitton’s free kick was headed by Baltaxa to a wide open Luis Hernandez in the box as the central defender powered the ball home for a 2-1 lead in the 96th minute.
The Reds looked to find the tying goal as Altman’s long distance opportunity was saved by Tenenbaum and Hernandez stopped Boateng as he sprinted towards the goal. Boateng again sent a smart shot towards Tenenbaum but the shot stopper pawed away the ball at the last moment as Hapoel continued to threaten the Maccabi goal.
To the delight of the Reds faithful Shai Eisen looked to have found the equalizer as he pounded the ball into the goal but was waved off as the Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR) ruled that a foul had been committed on Dor Peretz earlier. Klinger went wild as he entered the field of play and was shown a red card as Maccabi took the title.