DUSTIN BECK - Friday, May 13, 2011
Leo Krupnik went the full 90 minutes as Maccabi Haifa scored a 3-2 win over his team Maccabi Netanya, while Bryan Gerzicich and Kiryat Shmona fell to Hapoel Tel Aviv in the other semifinal match 2-0.
The semifinals match took place back to back at the national Ramat Gan Stadium with the stands split into four different sections, one for each team, to create and amazing atmosphere for the midweek contests.
Hapoel Tel Aviv 2-0 Kiryat Shmona
American midfielder Bryan Gerzicich went the full ninety minutes for Kiryat Shmona but couldn't help his side find the back of the net.
Shmona controlled the pace of things early but had few real chances while holding Tel Aviv in check in the early going.
After a very controlled first half and early part of the second half, Hapoel Tel Aviv finally broke the deadlock in the 80th minute with a spectacular bicycle goal from Eran Zahavi.
Seven minutes later Tel Aviv doubled their lead on a counter attack by Ben Sahar after Kiryat Shmona was forced to push forward and look for the goal they needed to tie things up.
The match ended with a 2-0 scoreline and longtime Israeli league power Hapoel Tel Aviv moving into the final against the winner of the late game.
Maccabi Haifa 3-2 Maccabi Netanya
Leo Krupnik assumed his usual position along the back line and went the full 90 minutes but ended up on the losing end of the scoreline as Maccabi Netanya fell to league leaders Maccabi Haifa 3-2 in an exciting encounter.
Netanya drew first blood in the 30th minute when young Israeli striker Firas Mugrabi slotted a shot past Haifa goalie Nir Davidovich.
The lead was short-lived however as Haifa answered in the 37th minute when Tomer Hemed latched on to a cross and stuck a header past Netanya keeper Carlos Arias to quickly tie things up.
The teams went into the break tied at 1-1 with the result in doubt as Netanya was going toe to toe with the league leaders.
Haifa took their first lead of the match ten minutes after the break when Georgian striker Vladimer Dvalishvili got on the board to put coach Elisha Levy's Maccabi Haifa side up 2-1.
The lead lasted only five minutes, that's when Sergiy Tetryak was taken down inside the 18 by Seidu Yahaya. Achmad Saba'a stepped to the spot and tucked one away to tie the match yet again at 2-2.
The final blow in the match came in the 68th minute when Haifa got a penalty kick of their own. Midfielder Lior Refaelov was taken down in the box and was awarded a penalty which he took himself. He calmly stepped up knocked the it home and Haifa made the tally stand up and moved on to the state cup final with a 3-2 win.
While Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa have both been extremely successful with long histories, they have never met in a State Cup final. That will change on May 25th.