The Yellow-and-Blue defeated Kfar Saba on a brace by Orlando Sa and goals by Dor Micha, Eran Zahavi and Barak Itzhaki. The win cuts Beer Sheva’s lead to 2-points as the playoff round begins next week at Bloomfield Stadium.
Yellow-and-Blue Head Coach Peter Bosz made a number of changes to the Starting XI that defeated Kfar Saba 2:0 on Wednesday night in the second leg of the Israel State Cup quarterfinals. Serbian keeper Predrag Rajikovic was back in goal with a defensive quartet of Eli Dasa, Eitan Tibi, Carlos Garcia and Avi Rikan playing in front of him. Gal Alberman and Haris Medunjanin played in the midfield while Dor Micha, Tal Ben Chaim, and Captain Eran Zahavi played just behind striker Orlando Sa.
Maccabi began the match firing on all cylinders as Dor Micha quickly put the defending champions onto the scoreboard in the 3rd minute. Zahavi took a Dasa pass and headed the ball at the Kfar Saba goal but Ohad Cohen knocked it right down onto Micha’s foot who slammed it home for the 1:0 lead.
The Yellow-and-Blue looked to add to their advantage, but Tibi missed his 11th minute opportunity while Zahavi’s header was saved by Cohen in the 14th minute and his effort two minutes later was also collected by the Greens keeper. Hugo Lopez gave Kfar Saba their first chance of the evening going one-on-one with Rajikovic but the Maccabi shot stopper was in the right place to make the save in the 24th minute.
With Maccabi searching for a second goal, they didn’t have to look further than Sa’s brilliant header in the 32nd minute. Dasa’s perfect cross into the box met the Portuguese striker’s head, cleanly beating Cohen for the 2:0 lead. Each side had a couple of chances before going into the halftime break with the Yellow-and-Blue maintaining a two goal advantage.
The second half began just as the first did with another early Maccabi goal. Sa picked up his second marker of the night as he headed another ball past Cohen for a 3:0 lead. Rikan had come down the left side of the pitch and passed the ball to Zahavi in the center of the box. The Captain headed the ball right to Sa who was standing just to his left and powered it with authority behind the keeper.
With Maccabi in cruise control it was time for Zahavi to add to his league leading goal total in the 58th minute. The Captain raced into the box from the left side as his cross met Kfar Saba’s Liran Jan’s hand, good for a penalty. Zahavi stepped up to the spot and slammed home his 27th goal of the season.
The Yellow-and-Blue didn’t lift their foot from the pedal as Coach Bosz made a couple of substitutions as Eden Ben Basat came on for Ben Chaim in the 59th minute while Dor Peretz was introduced for Alberman ten minutes later. Rikan had a brilliant opportunity at the top of the visitors box in the 82nd minute but his effort went wide and over the goal.
With the hosts looking for a fifth goal against a shell shocked Kfar Saba they found it in Maccabi’s third substitute of the match, Barak Itzahki who had come into the game a few minutes earlier. Number 9’s low shot scooted by Cohen in the 88th minute as the Yellow-and-Blue picked up the 5:0 win while closing to within 2 points of table leaders Hapoel Beer Sheva.