Tonight Maccabi Tel Aviv will go to Bloomfield to face Beitar Jerusalem in the hope of keeping their Cup hopes alive. Midfielder Eran Zahavi: "To win the Cup we simply have to get past clubs like that."
It's been eight years since Maccabi Tel Aviv Football Club advanced past the stage of the last 16 in the National Cup. The last time that occurred was in the 2004/5 season, and it ended with Maccabi Tel Aviv lifting the Cup on the final night. Tonight (8.50 P.M. at Bloomfield Stadium) Maccabi will host Beitar Jerusalem hoping to earn their ticket to that elusive quarter final round and keep their Cup hopes alive. Yesterday afternoon the squad held their final training session for the match, but only after head coach Oscar Garcia and midfielder Eran Zahavi had spoken at a press conference in the run up to the all important Cup tie this evening.
"Throughout this campaign we've been able to bring our supporters a great deal of joy and I'm very happy for them. That's the way we want to keep it too", said the head coach. "We know Beitar is an excellent club. We know they have a lot of great players and I'm sure the match will be difficult. But if we want to carry on performing the way we have up until now we must focus tomorrow only on Beitar and forget about the league."
Midfielder Eran Zahavi, a two time cup winner, also addressed himself to the difficult nature of the match: "No doubt the draw hasn't been that kind to us, but personally I prefer to meet clubs like Beitar at this stage of the competition. It's a very tough match. They're a side that likes to run and that's what's going to make it dangerous for us. But if we want to win the Cup we're going to have to get past clubs like that too."
Regarding criticism of his form in recent matches he had this to say: "There is no automatic formula in football. I never expected to immediately return to the form I was in before I went abroad but so far I think I've done all right. From day one I've always said I've come to Maccabi Tel Aviv to be part of the team and not above it. My way is working hard and getting as much time on the pitch as I can and giving as much of myself as I can when I'm there."