"A football coach is not a normal person," said Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC trainer Nitzan Shirazi after Nosa Igiebor had struck in added time to win the Israeli Cup final against Maccabi Haifa FC.
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Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC became the first club to win the Israeli Cup on three successive occasions as Nosa Igiebor struck in added time to earn his side a dramatic 2-1 win against Maccabi Haifa FC.
The showpiece appeared destined for extra time after Dela Yampolsky had levelled for Maccabi Haifa four minutes after Mirko Oremuš's opening goal for the holders. Yet, with the seconds ticking down, Igiebor pounced to ensure a last-gasp – and 15th cup – triumph for Hapoel.
There was little to report in a goalless first half but the match came to life on 58 minutes when Croatian midfielder Oremuš broke the deadlock after receiving an inviting pass from Roei Gordana. In their first meaningful attack after falling behind, however, Maccabi equalised through Yampolsky, who popped up to head in Taleb Tawtha's left-wing cross.
There was nothing to choose between the sides thereafter but in the second minute of added time Salim Toama played in Nigerian midfielder Igiebor, who displayed ice-cool nerves to apply a classy finish.
"A football coach is not a normal person," said Nitzan Shirazi, who took charge of Hapoel midway through the season and guided them to a runners-up finish in the Israeli Premier League. "I was at the bottom when I came to Hapoel, but now I'm happy and I want this club to dominate Israeli football for many years."
"I love Hapoel, I love Israel and I love the fans," said Igiebor. "It was very important to me to win the cup and I'm happy for Nitzan Shirazi. People cannot understand how he has changed the team and strengthened us, and what kind of a person he is."