Maccabi Tel Aviv no match for Chelsea

Jokanovic’s boys badly outplayed at Stamford Bridge, fall 4-0 in first taste of group stage since 2004.

September 17, 2015 00:20
2 minute read.
maccabi tel aviv

Chelsea beats Maccabi Tel Aviv 4-0 in Champions League Group G encounter, September 16, 2015. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Maccabi Tel Aviv received a painful introduction to life in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday night, suffering a 4-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Maccabi was making its first group stage appearance in 11 years, with the last Israeli side to do so being Hapoel Tel Aviv five years ago.

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In case anyone forgot the huge gulf in quality between Israel’s top clubs and Europe’s best, Wednesday’s match was a stark reminder of the harsh reality.

The yellow-and-blue was outplayed by Chelsea in every facet of the game and could have easily lost by a far crueler scoreline.

Eden Hazard’s careless penalty in the sixth minute gave Maccabi some hope it could be its day. But Chelsea took the lead through Willian on 15 minutes and the match was as good as decided after Oscar converted the Blues’ second spot kick with the final kick of the first half.

Diego Costa (58) and Cesc Fabregas (78) piled the misery on the yellow-and-blue, which will be hoping the Champions League dream doesn’t end up turning into a nightmare.

The only real positive Maccabi can take from Wednesday was the performance of over 4,000 of its fans, who out-sang the locals throughout the night. However, their team could come nowhere near to equaling their display on the pitch and could be in for some depressing European nights should it not quickly adjust to life in the group stage.

While Maccabi never really expected to avoid defeat at Chelsea, it will believe in its chances to take something from its next group match against Dynamo Kiev at Haifa Stadium in two weeks.

Kiev drew 2-2 with Porto in Ukraine in the other match in Group G on Wednesday.

Maccabi looked terrified from the first moment at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday and conceded a penalty after just five minutes. Tal Ben-Haim’s awful pass was picked off and Predrag Rajkovic brought Willian down in the box. Hazard stepped up to take the penalty, but he sent his kick high into the stands to Maccabi’s relief.

However, Maccabi couldn’t withstand Chelsea’s pressure and pace for much longer, with Willian giving the hosts the lead in the 15th minute with a free-kick from 35 meters out which Rajkovic will have nightmares about at night.

Any hope Maccabi had of somehow leaving London with a point was dashed with the last kick of the first half. Ben-Haim was once more responsible for gifting Chelsea a penalty, recklessly fouling Costa, allowing Oscar to make it 2-0.

Maccabi came centimeters away from finding the target for the first time 10 minutes into the second half, but Avi Rikan’s volley went just wide.

Chelsea made it 3-0 three minutes later, with Costa netting a splendid volley which gave Rajkovic no chance before Fabregas (78) completed the rout with the nail-inthe- coffin fourth marker.

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