Christian Álvarez and Aviram Baruchyan scored first-half goals as Beitar Jerusalem FC successfully defended their Israeli Cup crown and denied Maccabi Haifa FC the domestic double this season.
Maccabi Haifa had secured an eleventh Ligat Ha'Al title on Saturday but their aspirations of adding more silverware were dented in front of almost 40,000 fans at the Ramat Gan Stadium. Strikes from Álvarez (19) and Baruchyan (38) left them 2-0 down at half-time and it was not until the dismissal of Beitar's Eliran Danin with 12 minutes remaining that Elisha Levy's team began to threaten a comeback. Beram Kayal cut the deficit from the penalty spot two minutes from time but it was too little, too late as deposed champions Beitar ended the campaign on a high.
"It's a sweet end to a turbulent season, and if we suffered a few blows then we have managed to bounce back," said Beitar coach Reuven Atar, whose side will meet Maccabi Haifa again on Saturday as the league comes to a close. It is the 40-year-old's first major trophy as a coach, while it was a man two years his junior, David Amsalem, who accepted the prize from Israeli president Shimon Peres after captain Arik Benado stepped aside for his veteran team-mate.
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