(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
A horrendous blunder by new Betar Jerusalem goalkeeper Tvrtko Kale gifted FC Copenhagen a 1-0 victory in the first leg of the Champions League second qualifying round on Tuesday night.
Betar hosts the Danish champion in the return leg next week at Teddy Stadium and faces an uphill battle if itÂ¹s to advance to the third and final qualifying round of European soccerÂ¹s most prestigious competition.
Just nine minutes into his Betar debut Kale foolishly raced out of goal and totally missed the ball, allowing Marcus Allback to score his sideÂ¹s winner. Jerusalem midfielder Derek Boateng was sent off in the 52nd minute of the match, but the hosts failed to score a second goal and open up a substantial lead. Despite losing, Betar was on par with the Danes for most of the match and will feel encouraged ahead of next weeks return leg.
The hosts pushed forward in search of the opener at the start of the match and Jesper Gronkjaer registered his teamÂ¹s first shot toward goal after four minutes, hitting a wayward effort from 20 meters out.
Five minutes later, however, KaleÂ¹s awful mistake gave the Danes the lead. The Croatian goalkeeper and defender Shimon Gershon both missed the ball, allowing Morten Nordstrand to set up Allback for one of the easier goals of
Despite taking the lead, Copenhagen struggled to create scoring opportunities and Michael GravgaardÂ¹s weak header in the 21st minute was all the side could manage until the final five minutes of the half.
Betar only recorded its first shot of the match in the 28th minute, with Toto Tamuz striking the ball wide from 25 meters out.
Slowly but surely Betar seized control of match and, seven minutes, from the interval found the back of the net. New Chilean defender Cristian Alvarez smashed the ball into the roof of the net from three meters out, but the goal was disqualified after the linesman wrongly judged the player to be offside.
Eight minutes after the break, BetarÂ¹s hopes of leaving Denmark with a positive result suffered a fatal blow. Derek Boateng received his second yellow card after tripping up Gronkjaer and was sent off.
The hosts immediately began to dominate the proceedings and went in search of their second goal of the match. In the 57th minute Kale easily saved AllbackÂ¹s shot after the Swede failed to take advantage of his good chance. Even with 10 men Betar almost got an equalizer, twice threatening Jesper ChristiansenÂ¹s goal in a span of two minutes.
In the 76th minute Michael ZandbergÂ¹s shot from 30 meters surprised the Danish keeper, who just barely tipped the ball over the crossbar. A minute later Barak Itzhaki turned in the Copenhagen box and released a thunderous shot that went just high.