Despite the fact that only an unlikely combination of results would see Maccabi
Tel Aviv fail to reach the Europa League round-of-32 on Thursday night, the
yellow-and-blue is taking nothing for granted ahead of Girondins de Bordeaux’s
visit to Bloomfield Stadium.
A draw would be enough for Maccabi to clinch
second place in Group F, while even a defeat will probably not cost Tel Aviv a
berth in the knockout rounds.
Maccabi can only be eliminated should it
lose to Bordeaux, which has nothing to play for, and APOEL Nicosia beats
groupwinner Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany on Thursday, with the combined goal
difference of the two results reaching at least four goals in Nicosia’s
“I’m expecting a good showing because I know that we need a good
performance to get a positive result and it will be a special day if we achieve
it,” said Maccabi coach Paulo Sousa. “The players deserve all the credit for
what they’ve achieved so far.
They are working very hard and recording
important results for themselves, the club and Israeli soccer as a whole. I hope
we will register the result everyone is expecting from us in our final group
Maccabi beat an under-strength Bordeaux 2-1 in France two months
ago, with coach Francis Gillot set to start with an even weaker lineup at
Bloomfield as the team’s league results are currently far more significant to
Bordeaux has won three straight Ligue 1 matches to climb to
sixth place in the French standings and Gillot will use Thursday’s encounter to
award his substitutes and inexperienced players valuable playing
Late Thursday, Maccabi Haifa will complete its Group L matches when
it hosts Shakhter Karagandy at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.
Both Haifa and
Karagandy lost any hope of qualifying long ago and will be playing for no more
than pride on Thursday after collecting just two points from their first five
Haifa will, however, be hoping to build on its four-match Premier
League winning streak as it continues its recovery from a dismal start to the
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