Robbie Keane’s tenure as Maccabi Head Coach began in style as he guided his side to the Semi Final.

Yonatan Cohen (38), Eran Zahavi (45, 47, 52p), Dor Peretz (60) and Dan Biton (79) were all on target as Maccabi recorded their highest victory over Hapoel Be’ersheva at Turner to book a place in the Toto Cup Semi Final.

In his first official match in charge as Maccabi’s Head Coach, Robbie Keane, handed debut appearances to the two new signings Yvann Macon and Milson. Daniel Peretz started in goal for his 100th match in Maccabi’s colors with Nir Bitton and Enric Saborit lining up as the two central defenders in front of him.

Macon at right-back and Ofir Davidzada at left back completed Keane’s four-man defensive line. Joris van Overeem and Dor Peretz were named by Keane at the heart of Maccabi’s formation while Dan Biton assigned to the top of the midfield trio. Milson on one flank and Yonatan Cohen on the other supplied the width to Maccabi’s line-up in support of Eran Zahavi who led the line wearing the captain’s armband. Shortly before kickoff however, Milson picked in injury in the warm up and was replaced in the starting line-up by Eylon Almog with Guy Mizrahi joining the substitutes bench.

On the bench, Keane named Roi Mishpati as the substitute keeper, Gabi Kanichowsky, Sheran Yeini, Eyal Golasa, Guy Mizrahi, Derrick Luckassen, Shahar Piven, Sayid Abu Farhi and Djordje Jovanovic.

First Half

Maccabi began the match with purpose and intention as they placed Be’ersheva under pressure right from the off. Dan Biton had the first shot on goal as early as the fourth minute, but his shot deflected out for a corner. Dor Peretz also tried his luck in the 10th minute but once again a Be’ersheva defender deflected the shot wide of the post.

Maccabi continued to press as three minutes later Eylon Almog blasted a shot from outside the area which was turned over the crossbar by Be’ersheva’s keeper Ofir Marciano. Biton carved Be’ersheva’s defense open as he threaded the ball to Eran Zahavi minutes later, but the veteran marksman was let down by his first touch. Be’ersheva’s coach Elyaniv Barda was first to make a change in the 17th minute as Eden Shamir limped off and was replaced by Mariano Bariero.

In the 25th minute, Yonatan Cohen was the first player to be booked by referee David Fuxman for a foul on Be’ersheva’s Kristoffer Peterson.

Maccabi continued to dominate as Joris van Overeem and Dor Peretz marshalled the midfield preventing the hosts from taking any grip on the game. In the 38th minute Maccabi took the lead as Dan Biton floated a deep ball towards Ofir Davidzada who charged into the area before sending a one touch square ball that fell into the path of Cohen. The forward who was left unmarked in the middle of the area drilled a right foot shot which gave Marciano no chance to open the score and his account for the season.

The fourth official indicated four minutes of added time and Maccabi almost doubled their lead. Cohen was sent towards the byline before cutting the ball back for Peretz whose close-range effort was deflected over the crossbar by a last gasp Miguel Vitor tackle. On the stroke of halftime however, Daniel Peretz picked Dor Peretz near the center circle as he fed Zahavi who released Almog down the left flank. Almog cut inside and teed-up Zahavi who sent a lethal right foot low drive that beat Marciano to make it 2-0.

Second half

Barda made three changes at the restart as Sagiv Yehezkel, Shay Elias and Ramzi Safuri came-on for Guy Badash, Hatem Elhamid and Roy Gordana.

A minute later Maccabi increased the lead in spectacular fashion as Yvann Macon raced down the right flank and cut the ball to Zahavi whose back-heal flick made it 3-0.

Maccabi continued to press Be’ersheva’s defense and within two minutes Peretz latched onto a poor Marciano clearance on the edge of the area. Peretz released Cohen who was pulled down by Iad Abu Abid yet the linesman raised his flag for offside. VAR intervened and reversed the initial decision awarding Maccabi a penalty and leaving Fuxman with choice but to send Abu Abid off. Zahavi stepped up and successfully converted the spot to complete his hattrick and Maccabi’s fourth after 52 minutes.

Four minutes later, Be’ersheva exploited a mistake in Maccabi’s defense as Ramzi Safuri lifted the ball over the advancing Peretz to cut the deficit to 4-1.

Keane made a double change as van Overeem and Cohen bowed out on 58 to be replaced by Eyal Golasa and Gabi Kanichowsky.

Be’ersheva’s defense collapsed once again as Zahavi sent a looping ball into the box which bobbled off the foot of Vitor. Peretz reacted first and blasted his shot into the top corner to restore the four-goal lead and score Maccabi’s fifth on the hour mark in spectacular fashion.  

Shortly after, Zahavi came off to a standing ovation and replaced by Djordje Jovanovic while in the 68th minute Keane completed his changes as Bitton and Macon were replaced by Derrick Luckassen and Shahar Piven.

Biton who had four earlier efforts either blocked by Be’ersheva’s defense or miss the target, joined in the celebration In the 79th minute. Almog danced on the edge of the area and teed-up the midfielder whose left foot deadly strike beat Marciano for Maccabi’s sixth.

The full-time whistle saw the entire Maccabi playing and coaching staff walk towards the 1700 travelling fans who enjoyed the display and will enjoy their trip back to Tel Aviv.