Maccabi Tel Aviv Takes Israel State Cup, Beating Hapoel Be’er Sheva 6-2

With a hat-trick from Swedish striker Rade Prica, Maccabi cruises to victory at Haifa's new stadium, completing treble.

Sharon Bokov

REUTERS - Maccabi Tel Aviv registered a unique domestic treble after thrashing Hapoel Be’er Sheva 6-2 on Wednesday to win the Israeli State Cup for a 23rd time.

Maccabi added the cup to the 22nd league championship which they secured on Sunday with two matches left until the end of the season, and the lesser Toto Cup in December.

They will play in the qualifying rounds of next season's Champions League.

A hat-trick from Maccabi's Swedish striker Rade Prica saw Maccabi cruise to victory at Haifa's 33,000 seat Sami Ofer Stadium, a new atmospheric venue for the final that has replaced the ageing National Stadium in Tel Aviv.

"This was the best game of my career, I scored three goals and had two assists, what more could anybody want, and with these fans and this amazing stadium, it's perfect," man of the match Prica said.

It was the highest-scoring final since Israel's formation in 1948, although the State Cup was not played between 1948-52, and beat the previous high-scoring final in 1961 in which Maccabi Haifa beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 5-2.

Maccabi, founded in 1905, are the oldest and most decorated club in Israeli soccer. They were a dominant force in previous decades but had found titles hard to come by since beating Maccabi Haifa on goal difference in 2002-03.

The change in fortunes was brought about through large investment by Canadian owner Mitch Goldhar, whose predominantly Spanish coaching staff, led by sports director Jordi Cruyff, has transformed the club.

Despite the success of Spanish coach Pako Ayestaran, there is speculation whether he will stay on next season.

After the match, Ayestaran declined to speculate saying: "I can't think about next season, I just want to enjoy this victory."