Maccabi arrived at the Netanya stadium for the State Cup Quarter Final first leg against second division side Maccabi Petah Tikva. The match was relocated from Bloomfield stadium to Netanya due to a radius ban punishment the club received for the fans’ misconduct in the previous round against Bnei Sakhnin.

Maccabi’s coach, Aitor Karanka, made seven changes to the side which was held to a 0-0 draw by Hapoel Tel Aviv at the weekend. Daniel Tenenbaum was handed a rare start in goal with Daniel Peretz allowed to rest on the substitutes bench. Sheran Yeini led the team out wearing the captain’s armband as the veteran skipper lined-up alongside Derrick Luckassen who recovered from the ankle injury which sidelined him last week.

The Dutchman replaced Enric Saborit who served a one-match-touchline-ban due to his dismissal in the derby while Ofir Davidzada kept his place at left back and Maor Kandil completed the back-four as he replaced Andre Geraldes at the opposite right flank. Dor Peretz in the anchorman role partnered Eyal Golasa in the midfield engine room while Avi Rikan was named ahead of the duo as Karanka sent out a 4-2-3-1 formation. Gabi kanichowsky on one flank and Yonatan Cohen on the other supplied the width to Karanka’s midfield while Djordje Jovanovic led the line as the lone striker allowing Eran Zahavi a much needed rest on the bench.

Alongside Daniel Peretz and Zahavi, Karanka also named Dan Glazer, Dan Biton, Joris van Overeem, Andre Geraldes, Shahar Piven, Dor Turgeman and Nir Bitton on the substitutes bench.

Prior to kickoff, Maccabi held a ceremony to former forward Tal Ben Chaim who left the club in the summer and joined his boyhood club Petah Tikva, honoring his services to Maccabi where he won six trophies in six seasons.

First Half

Maccabi began the match on the back foot with Petah Tikva coming close to draw first blood as early as the second minute. A misplaced Eyal Golasa back-pass towards Sheran Yeini left the captain chasing Idan Toklomati who raced clear through. Petah Tikva’s young striker shot from the edge of the area but Daniel Tenenbaum stretched himself to push the ball for a corner.

Maccabi’s custodian was influential in the opening goal which was scored within a minute as he released a quick counter attack by throwing the ball into the path of Yonatan Cohen. The winger shrugged off Tal Ben Chaim whose attempt of a back-pass to his keeper was intercepted by Gabi Kanichowsky whose pinpoint square ball was slotted home by Djordje Jovanovic. Petah Tikva’s claims for a foul on Ben Chaim were waived by referee Ohad Asulin as well as the VAR which let the goal stand and Maccabi lead 1-0.

Maccabi kept pressing and were rewarded for their efforts in the 25th minute as Avi Rikan’s flick into the path of Kanichowsky saw the midfielder pushed down in the area by Petah Tikva’s Gideon Akaouwa. Asulin awarded a penalty before Jovanovic stepped up and successfully converted the spot kick past Marco Wolf to double the lead and score his second on the night.

In the 36th minute the combination of Tenenbaum and Kanichowsky led to Maccabi’s third and one of the solo efforts scored by any player this season. Kanichowsky collected a Tenenbaum long throw near the halfway line before charging forward and sending a toe-poke past Wolf to make it 3-0.

On the brink of halftime, Maccabi came close to increase the lead even further, as Ofir Davidzada’s cross saw Cohen skip over the ball and left it for Eyal Golasa. The 31-year-old midfielder who was free on goal at the center of the area, had his shot was saved by Wolf.

Second Half

While Karanka made no changes at halftime, his Petah Tikva counterpart, Benny Lam, made a double substitution at the restart. Tal Ben Chaim and Branko Vrgoc made way for Ilya Shkurin and Moshe Mulah but the second half seemed exactly like the first one.

In the 56th minute Cohen tried a left foot shot from the edge of the area which was turned by Wolf for a corner. A minute later Karanka made his first change as Sheran Yeini was replaced by Nir Bitton at the center of defence.

Maccabi toyed with Petah Tikva’s defence and right on the hour mark Kanichowsky and Peretz exchanged flicks before the midfielder’s effort was saved by the keeper. The resulting Kanichowsky corner was headed by Derrick Luckassen into the path of Jovanovic who volleyed home. But the Serbian striker was denied his hat trick as he was just to have been caught offside. This was the final contribution of Jovanovic and Peretz as they were replaced in the 63rd minute by Joris van Overeem and Dor Turgeman.

Four minutes after his introduction, Turgeman released Kanichowsky who raced clear through before he unselfishly teed-up Cohen whose weak shot was saved by the keeper. Kanichowsky was given a standing ovation by the 3,950 fans as he came off and was replaced in the 70th by Dan Biton.

Biton had a left foot shot struck the base of the post before Rikan had the rebound saved by the keeper. A minute inside injury time however, Biton dribbled on the edge of the area and found Rikan who added his name to the scoresheet with an unstoppable shot which gave Wolf no chance to seal the score at 4-0.

Petah Tikva will host the return leg on February 25th as Maccabi seem all but through to the Semi Final.