Maccabi Tel Aviv 311.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv takes a 3-1 lead into its second leg of the Europa League
second qualifying round at Xäzär Länkäran FK of Azerbaijan on Thursday
But considering its recent record away from home in continental
competitions, the yellowand- blue is taking nothing for granted ahead of the
Maccabi has lost nine straight road games in Europe going
back to 2004, when it defeated PAOK of Thessaloniki in Champions League
While some of those defeats were to Bayern Munich, Juventus
and Ajax, Tel Aviv has also found itself on the losing end in matches against
the likes of Santa Coloma of Andorra, Erciyesspor of Turkey and FK Mogren of
Montenegro last season.
Maccabi showed itself to be clearly superior to
Lankaran by taking a 3-0 lead in the 43rd minute of the first
However, Xazar’s away goal three minutes later seriously complicated
Tel Aviv’s situation, and Mircea Rednic’s multinational squad, which includes
among others three Brazilians and four Romanians, will not go down without a
“I felt we could have done better in the first leg because we
missed chances to increase the margin,” Maccabi coach Moti Ivanir said ahead of
the second leg.
“If we had recorded a better score we would have been
more confident ahead of the second leg. But we are still confident in the
knowledge that we are a better team and that we can win in Azerbaijan. It won’t
be easy. They are quite a good team.
“But we aren’t entering the match
simply planning to defend. We will be shooting ourselves in the foot if we do
that. We need to score to make them understand that they’ve got no
Maccabi has had to deal with a series of departures in recent
days, with Dor Malul leaving for Beerschot AC of Belgium, Tamir Kahlon training
with Poland’s Legia Warsaw and Maor Buzaglo on his way to the
There were also reports that star striker Eliran Atar was set
to make a four million-euro move to Portuguese giant Porto.
Aviv denied it has any intention of selling Atar and the story in Portuguese
paper A Bola was labeled as a “lie” on Porto’s official website, with the club
also saying that “Eliran Atar is not and will not be a player of FC
Nevertheless, Ivanir feels that he could use a couple of more
players to strengthen his squad.
“We are facing a long season and players
like Malul and Kahlon, who we assumed would be at the club, have left.
spoke to the chairman about adding one or two players and he said it would be
considered,” Ivanir said. “If I want more players it is only because I want the
club to succeed.”
Should Maccabi complete its progress on Thursday it
will next face the winner of the tie between FK Zeljeznicar of Bosnia and FC
Sheriff of Moldova.
Zeljeznicar defeated Sheriff 1- 0 at home in the
Also Thursday, Bnei Yehuda should have little trouble
advancing to the third qualifying round when it hosts UE Sant Julià of Andorra
after claiming a 2-0 win in the first leg.
However, Bnei Yehuda’s next
opponent is set to be far more challenging, with Yossi Abuksis’s men being drawn
to play Helsingborgs IF of Sweden.
Hapoel Tel Aviv, which enters the
competition in the third qualifying round, will learn Thursday who it faces next
week, with FK Vojvodina of Serbia a clear favorite to secure its progress when
it hosts Liechtenstein’s FC Vaduz after claiming a 2-0 road victory in the first