UEFA Europa League Logo 311.
(photo credit: Mark Keppler/AP)
Bnei Yehuda survived a late scare to advance to the second qualifying round of the Europa League on Thursday.
After only managing a 0-0 draw in the first leg against FC Ulysses in Armenia, Bnei Yehuda battled to a 1- 0 victory at Bloomfield Stadium on Thursday night, booking a second-round tie against Ireland’s Shamrock Rovers.
Shalev Menashe gave Bnei Yehuda the lead late in the first half and the hosts should have sealed the tie after the break. However, Dror Kashtan’s men were wasteful in front of goal and were fortunate to hold out for a tight victory.
“It was tough, but it could have been easier,” Bnei Yehuda coach Kashtan said.
“We now need to prepare the players for the match in Ireland and learn all we can about Shamrock.”
Bnei Yehuda visits Shamrock in the first leg next Thursday before hosting the second leg the following week.
Maccabi Tel Aviv also enters the competition in the second qualifying round where it will face FK Mogren of Montenegro.
Neither team came close to scoring in the first 45 minutes of Thursday’s match, but in first half stoppage time the hosts made the breakthrough.
Ulysses goalkeeper Vladimir Malkov saved Moshe Biton’s and Omri Afek’s
shots, but Menashe pounced on the rebound to smash in the opener.
Bnei Yehuda improved its play after the break, but squandered golden
opportunities to clinch the tie.
Oz Raly, Afek and Shlomi Levi should have all done better in front of
goal and Bnei Yehuda almost paid the ultimate price in the final 10
In the 83rd minute, Shota Jikia only had Dele Aiyenugba to beat, but
Bnei Yehuda’s Nigerian ’keeper did well to clear the danger.
Four minutes later Norayr Sahakyan had a free header five meters from
goal, but to Bnei Yehuda’s relief he failed to place his attempt on
target and the hosts held on to advance to the second round.