The Yellow & Blue won the Toto Cup for a record 5th time in franchise history thanks to a late header by Icelandic striker Vidar Kjartansson in the 83’ to defeat Hapoel Beer Sheva 1:0 and hoist the trophy!
Head Coach Jordi Cruyff’s Starting XI featured Predrag Rajikovic in goal along with Yuval Shpungin, Jean-Sylvain Babin, Eitan Tibi, Ori Davidzada, Dor Peretz, Eyal Golasa, Avi Rikan, Dor Micha, Nick Blackman and Eliran Atar.
Available on the bench were Daniel Tenenbaum, Eli Dasa, Jose Rodriguez, Vidar Kjartansson, Barak Itzhaki, Aaron Schoenfeld and Tal Ben Haim.
Beer Sheva’s Starting XI included keeper Guy Haimov, Michael Ohana, Dan Einbinder, Hatem AlHamid, Ben Bitton, John Ogu, Loai Taha, Maor Melikson, Mihai Korhut, Maharan Radi and Ben Sahar. Bench: Dudu Goresh, Guy Melamed, Vladimir Broun, Dor Elo, Matan Ohayon, Tomas Pekhart.
Blackman had the first chance of the match when he headed the ball over the bar off a Micha cross from the right in the 9’ while Davidzada picked up a yellow card in the following minute. Rikan launched a laser from just outside of the box in the 16’ after taking a pass from Atar, but Haimov made the diving stop to keep the contest goalless.
Ex-Maccabi midfielder Einbinder had Beer Sheva’s first chance of the match when he drove a scorcher for the top right hand corner of the goal, but Rajikovic made the save in the 27’ while 4 minutes later AlHamid headed the ball off a free kick towards the goal but Rajiko was again up to the task. In the 33’ both Taha and Rikan received yellow cards from the referee while Golasa’s attempt from outside the box a minute later missed the target as did Blackman’s shot which went over the bar.
The Yellow & Blue got even closer in the 39’ when Davidzada came into the box from the left, passed the ball to Blackman who sent it to Rikan in the middle of the area, but #22 put it over the bar. Blackman’s free kick from the right side 3 minutes later was stopped by Haimov as he dove to his left and sent the ball out for a corner while Golasa’s 16 meter attempt in the 44’ missed the target as the sides went into the break goalless.
Beer Sheva made three substitutions to start the half bringing on Elo, Broun and Pekhart for Ogu, Ohana and Biton. Maccabi had a quick chance in the 47’ but Atar’s weak attempt went into the Beer Sheva defense while four minutes later Tibi pulled down Elo as the ensuing free kick was stopped by Rajikovic and sent out for a corner.
Cruyff made his first substitution of the match when he inserted Dasa for Ofir Davidzada in the 57’ while one minute later Broun’s header as well as Pekhart’s went out. At the other end of the pitch Maccabi had a magnificent chance when Atar put a scorcher on goal as did Blackman in the 64’ but Haimov was in place once again. Elo cut into the box in the 68’ but Rajikovic made the diving stop as the tension increased and the match remained goalless.
Beer Sheva brought on Ohayon for Taha in the 75’ while Vidar also entered the contest for Atar. And what did the Icelander do on his first chance? He scored a header off a Rodriguez cross to give the Yellow & Blue a 1:0 lead in the 83’. Schoenfeld came on for Blackman in the 86’ as Maccabi looked to close out the game. Ben Haim came on for Micha in injury time as Maccabi closed out the contest and lifted the Toto Cup a record 5th time in franchise history!