Any lingering hope Hapoel Tel Aviv may have had of advancing to the Europa
League round-of-32 was lost in humiliating fashion on Thursday night following a
4-0 defeat at Viktoria Plzen of the Czech Republic.
With two more matches
remaining in the group stage, Hapoel is bottom of Group B with just a single
point, eight points behind leaders Atletico Madrid and Plzen.
coach Yossi Abuksis had said ahead of the encounter that Sunday’s Premier League
derby against Maccabi Tel Aviv was far more important to him and he proved that
by making seven changes to the lineup that lost 2-1 at Maccabi
Abuksis rested the likes of Hanan Maman, Tal Ben-Haim and Omer
Damari and Hapoel never really showed up on Thursday.
Salim Toama almost
gave Hapoel the lead in the 10th minute when his free kick from the edge of the
area flew centimeters wide of the upright, but that was really all Tel Aviv
could muster throughout the 90 minutes.
Plzen led 2-0 at the break thanks
to goals from Daniel Kolar (23) and David Stipek (39) and Hapoel also found
itself down to 10 men after Eric Djemba-Djemba was shown a straight red card in
the 41st minute for a reckless foul on Vladimir Darida.
Two more headed
goals by Kolar (76) and Marek Bakos (84) poured salt on Hapoel’s wounds and Tel
Aviv equaled its heaviest ever defeat in European competition.
Kiryat Shmona’s match against Sparta Prague in Group I ended after press time.