Hapoel Tel Aviv win Israeli State Cup
TEL AVIV, May 9 (Reuters) - Hapoel Tel Aviv won the Israeli State Cup by beating city rivals Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv 1-0 with an 87th minute goal from Ilia Yavorian on Tuesday.
Hapoel, who will come second behind champions Maccabi Haifa when the season ends this weekend, had already clinched a UEFA Cup spot so Bnei Yehuda will also now be in the competition.
The losers were lucky to stay in contention until the dying moments of an untidy encounter, however, and had Nigerian keeper Vincent Aniema to thank for several spectacular saves that kept Hapoel's Cup hopes on ice until three minutes from time.
Hapoel's fans were in the majority among a 40,000 crowd and erupted with joy as Armenian Yavoryan slotted home from close range after a pass from the right by Nigerian Ibazito Ogabuna.
Hapoel's typically dogged, defensive counter-attacking style snuffed out Bnei Yehuda's flair and their hopes of a repeat of the last of their two cup final victories in 1981, when they beat Hapoel on penalties, were thwarted by the late goal.
The victory was a fitting farewell for Hapoel coach Dror Kashtan and he thanked the fans at the end of the match as he preapres to take over as Israel coach.
'You are the best and most loyal fans, you have been our 12th player throughout the season and you deserve this victory,' Kashtan told the supporters over the public address system.
Israeli President Moshe Katsav awarded the trophy to Hapoel captain Shimon Gershon as fireworks went up around the National Stadium in Tel Aviv. It was Hapoel's 11th State Cup win since they became inaugural winners of the trophy in 1928.