HAPOEL TEL AVIV midfielder Eran Zahavi 311.
(photo credit: AP)
Hapoel Tel Aviv returned to Israel on Wednesday afternoon disappointed, yet
proud, of its 2-2 Champions League draw at Olympique Lyon the previous
RELATED:Hapoel Tel Aviv closes with 2-2 draw at Lyon
Hapoel entered the match at the Stade de Gerland needing an
unlikely win against last season’s Champions League semifinalist, as well as for
SL Benfica to fail to defeat Schakle 04 at home, to avoid last place in Group B
and advance to the round of 32 of the Europa League.
Lyon dominated the
possession and reached numerous chances in front of the Hapoel goal, but
goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama was in inspired form and kept the score goalless
Lisandro gave the hosts the lead in the 62nd minute, only
for Ben Sahar to equalize a minute later, before Tel Aviv went in front in the
69th minute with a goal which will live in Israeli soccer fans’ memories for
many years to come.
Salim Toama crossed the ball from the left and Eran
Zahavi sent a stunning bicycle kick into the back of the net in what may well be
crowned as goal of the season in the Champions League.
winning 2-1 at Benfica, everything was in place for Tel Aviv to clinch third
place in the standings.
However, Alexandre Lacazette would equalize for
Lyon two minutes from time, breaking Tel Aviv hearts after an heroic
“I’m proud of this team,” Gutman said on Wednesday upon his
arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport. “We played in one of the toughest stadiums in
Europe and the fact that we left it disappointed pretty much says it all. I’m 90
percent proud and 10 percent disappointed.”
The impressive draw meant
that Hapoel became the first Israeli side to avoid defeat away from home in the
competition since Maccabi Haifa drew 3-3 at Olympiacos on November 13, 2002,
snapping an eightmatch losing streak.
“We had a good campaign,” Gutman
said. “We gave our opponents a little too much respect at the start, but we
ended it with an inspiring performance in one of the toughest road matches
possible and we were unbeaten in the second round of matches. We now must make
the switch and turn our focus back to the Premier League.”
There was also
some bad news from Tuesday’s match, with striker Itai Shechter injuring his
shoulder before having to be substituted by Sahar in the 25th
Shechter, who will undergo an MRI on Thursday to determine the
severity of the injury, is usually the star of the show wherever his team goes,
but on Wednesday it was Zahavi who garnered all the attention.
really explain the bicycle kick,” Zahavi said.
“The cross was high and I
just decided to give it a go.
“We are happy with the draw, but are
slightly disappointed because we were so close to the Europa League.
we must maintain this form and play consistently well.
“There is still a
long way to go in the league and we want to win it again so we can play in the
Champions League once more next season.”