Beitar Jerusalem goalkeeper Boris Kleyman pleads with his team's fans to stop throwing flares onto the pitch, with last night's Europa League second qualifying round first leg at Sporting Charleroi having to be delayed for three minutes due to the unruly behavior of the Israeli supporters.
(photo credit: UDI ZITIAT/BSL)
Beitar Jerusalem lost 5-1 to Sporting Charleroi on Thursday, but somehow that wasn’t even the worst part of its night.
What will be remembered from the match was the disgraceful behavior of the Beitar supporters which could result in a hefty punishment for the club.
The match had to be delayed by three minutes at the start after Jerusalem fans threw multiple flares onto the pitch and ended with the Charleroi goalkeeper laying on the grass with his head in his hands after being struck by an object which seemed to have come from the Beitar stand right behind his goal.
The Beitar supporters were also involved in several skirmishes outside the stadium ahead of the encounter and the club is likely to be punished by UEFA in the coming weeks.
Beitar’s Europa League campaign is set to come to a close next week following the humbling defeat to Charleroi in the first leg of the second qualifying round in Belgium.
Beitar’s night actually got off to a promising start, with Dovev Gabay’s 35th-minute equalizer drawing the score level at 1-1 following David Pollet’s 10th-minute opener. However, Eli Dasa’s sending off in first half stoppage time seriously complicated Beitar’s situation and Charleroi ran riot in the second half.
Neeskens Kebano (48) and Pollet (68) scored before Pablo De Lucas left Beitar with nine men in the 76th minute. Florent Stevance (88) and Kebano (93) piled the misery on Jerusalem, which has no real chance of overturning the deficit at Teddy Stadium next week.
Hapoel Beersheba still hopes to advance to the third qualifying round, even though it conceded an 87th-minute equalizer to draw 1-1 with FC Thun at Teddy on Thursday.
Goalkeeper Dudu Goresh, defender Shir Tzedek and midfielder Maharan Radi all made their debuts on Thursday, with fellow new signings Ben Sahar, Anthony Nwakaeme and Matan Ohayon being handed places on the bench.
It took the hosts some time to find their rhythm, but Beersheba made the most of the opportunity when it arrived. A superb lobbed pass by Maor Buzaglo was slotted in by Ovidiu Hoban’s volley in the 26th minute, a lead Beersheba maintained until the break.
The hosts went in search of a second goal in the second half, but were punished at the other end following a costly mistake.
Hoban clipped Marco Rojas in the box and Gianluca Frontino converted the penalty three minutes from time to break Beersheba hearts.
“This is disappointing because we created a lot of chances,” said Beersheba coach Barak Bachar, who was guiding the team for the first time since taking charge this summer. “We played well against an excellent team and gave our all for 90 minutes.”
Despite conceding a disappointing equalizer, Bachar is optimistic Beersheba can advance on the road next week.
“This was just the first half and anything is possible,” he said. “I believe that we can beat Thun and I believe in my players.”
Beersheba and Beitar, as well as Ironi Kiryat Shmona, will all feature in the draw for the third qualifying round on Friday. Kiryat Shmona will enter the competition in the third qualifying round, which will be followed by a playoff round for a place in the group stage.
The draw for the Champions League third qualifying round will also be held on Friday, although Maccabi Tel Aviv still has plenty of work to do before it can turn its focus to the next round after suffering an embarrassing 2-1 defeat at Malta’s Hibernians in the first leg of the second qualifying round.