Mac TA looks to bounce back; Greens host PAOK

By
November 7, 2013 04:03

Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Paulo Sousa doesn’t believe his team’s first Premier League defeat of the season will have any effect on Thursday’s Europa League encounter versus Eintracht Frankfurt at Bloomfield Stadium.

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Soccer.

Soccer 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Paulo Sousa doesn’t believe his team’s first Premier League defeat of the season will have any effect on Thursday’s Europa League encounter versus Eintracht Frankfurt at Bloomfield Stadium.

Maccabi was outplayed in a 2-0 defeat in Frankfurt two weeks ago, but it is still well placed to advance from Group F, having four points from three matches, one more than Girondins de Bordeaux and three more than APOEL Nicosia.

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After winning six of its first seven league games while conceding just a single goal, Maccabi looked vulnerable in local action for the first time on Monday, losing 3-2 at Hapoel Beersheba.

Sousa was extremely unhappy with having to play Beersheba just three days before Frankfurt’s visit, but he was optimistic on Wednesday that his side will be able to recover in time for the crucial showdown.

“I would like to have had more days to recover and we needed more days to prepare for Frankfurt, but it is up to us to play with courage and with a lot of emotion,” he said. “I hope it will be an historic night.”

Later Thursday, Maccabi Haifa will hope to reignite its campaign when it hosts PAOK Thessaloniki in Europa action. Haifa would have happily done without the match against the Greeks at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium, with its Premier League struggles a far more pressing problem at the moment.

Haifa has won just one of its past seven league matches, suffering a humbling 1-0 defeat to Hapoel Ra’anana on Saturday to remain in 10th place with just eight points from eight games.

The Greens have also picked up just a single point from their first three Europa group games, squandering a 2-0 lead on the way to a 3-2 loss at Thessaloniki two weeks ago.

Haifa must defeat PAOK to maintain a realistic chance of a top-two finish in the group, but coach Arik Benado will have Monday’s far more important league match against Beitar Jerusalem on his mind when he comes to select his lineup for Thursday.


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