Haifa found the back of the goal in the first half to take home the State Cup title as Hen Ezra scored the lone marker of the contest.
Head Coach Peter Bosz made only one change in his Starting XI from Saturday night’s 6:0 league victory is really the same Haifa team as Haris Medunjanin replaced Eliel Peretz in the midfield. Medunjanin was joined by Gal Alberman and Nosa Igiebor while a defensive quartet of Eli Dasa, Eitan Tibi, Carlos Garcia and Avi Rikan played just behind them. Dor Micha, Tal Ben Chaim and Captain Eran Zahavi provided the offense up front while Serbian keeper Predrag Rajikovic took his usual place in goal.
The match opened up as a pretty physical affair for the first 20 minutes as each side collected foils aplenty with only one chance which occurred in the 10th minute as Eyal Meshumar almost scored an own goal. In the 22nd minute Ben Chaim took a wonderful ball on the left side of the box but his effort went wide right of the goal.
Just a minute later, Shoval Gozlan received a deep ball that beat the Maccabi defense but his opportunity went over Rajikovic’s goal as the action began heating up in both sides of the pitch. Tens minutes later, Zahavi had his first chance of the evening but his attempt went over the goal after the whole team got in on the act. Ben Chaim began the play, sent the ball to Micha who handed it off to Rikan and then to the Captain who put it over the bar.
However, the Greens got onto the board first as Hen Ezra put home a Ludovic Obraniak free kick to give Haifa a 1:0 lead. Micha gave Zahavi a chance to even it up in the 40th minute but his unbelievable header effort was saved midair on the line by Haifa keep Vladimir Stoykovich to keep his clean sheet intact as the sides headed into the break with Haifa clinging onto a one goal lead.
Maccabi had fantastic chance to begin the second half as Zahavi sent a ball through the Haifa box but found no one home to take advantage. Medunjanin had his scorcher stopped by Stoykovich in the 48th minute as the Yellow & Blue threw everything they had at the Greens trying to find the equalizer in the early going of half number two.
Igiebor had a brilliant opportunity to score in the 57th minute but couldn’t handle Rikan’s pinpoint pass as his effort went out. With Maccabi maintaining possession it was Ezra of Haifa in the 70th minute who had a chance to double his side’s score but his screamer went wide right of the goal.
A minute later Peter Bosz made him first substitute of the match inserting Eliel Peretz in favor of Alberman. Ben Chaim’s 75th minute curler couldn’t find the back of the goal as the Maccabi faithful continued cheering their heroes on while Bosz made his second substitute introducing Barak Itzhaki for Igiebor.
With seven minutes until full time, Maccabi made their third and final substitute of the match brining in Eden Ben Basat for Garcia. However, it wouldn’t be enough on this night as Haifa wrapped up the 1:0 win and took home the Israel State Cup.