Beersheba knocked out of Champions League

After a difficult and very stressful week for Barak Bachar’s team, which also included a loss to Hapoel Haifa, Beersheba wanted to regain some confidence ahead of the Premier League campaign.

By JERUSALEM POST SPORTS STAFF
August 1, 2018 03:41
1 minute read.
Hapoel Beersheba dug itself too deep in the Champions League second qualifying round matchup

Hapoel Beersheba dug itself too deep in the Champions League second qualifying round matchup. (photo credit: DANNY MARON)

For the third year in a row, the dream of Hapoel Beersheba’s arrival in the Champions League group stage has been broken to pieces. On Tuesday night, Beersheba managed to earn a 2-2 draw against Dinamo Zagreb, but the Croatian side was coming off a 5-0 first-leg triumph and captured the second-qualifying round duel 7-2 on aggregate.

The loss drops the Israeli champion down to the Europa League, where it will face a tough challenge in APOEL Nicosia in the third qualifying round.

Tuesday’s first half at Turner Stadium was great for Beersheba, which took a 2-0 lead on tallies by John Ogu (14th minutes) and an own-goal by Petar Stojanovic after trying to keep Hapoel’s Hanan Maman away from the goal line.

Anthony Nwakaeme, had multiple opportunities to make it a three-goal lead, but was stopped by Dinamo ’keeper Daniel Zagorac time after time.

With the opening of the second half and with the home crowd beginning to dream of a miracle comeback, the Israeli champion suffered a mortal blow when Mario Budimir took advantage of a big hole in the Beersheba defense to cut the lead in half in the 49th minutes. Hapoel had not yet managed shake off the shock before Izet Hajrovic equalized in the 54th minute and basically put a pin in the hopes of the Israeli side.

After a difficult and very stressful week for Barak Bachar’s team, which also included a loss to Hapoel Haifa, Beersheba wanted to regain some confidence ahead of the Premier League campaign, and Tuesday’s hard-fought result may have at least accomplished that.

“We can take many positive things from this game,” said Bachar. “I saw a very strong team that was attacking and pressing... We could have had at least three more goals in the first half, and then naturally the goal we let up broke us a little, but I will take many good things from the  this evening.”

Now the Reds will turn all their attention to APEOL, which beat Flora Tallinn 5-0 in their first leg, with the Israelis looking to qualify for the Europa League group stage for a third consecutive season.


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