hapoel tel aviv celebrate 248.88.
(photo credit: AP)
If Rapid Vienna was expecting to avenge its recent 5-1 drubbing by Hapoel Tel Aviv at Bloomfield Stadium, Eli Gutman's men had other plans on Thursday night, producing another magical European display to hammer the Austrians 3-0 on their own soil and take a massive stride toward qualification for the UEFA Europa League's knockout phase.
The win keeps Hapoel top of Group C with just two games to go, and the Tel Aviv side only needs a draw at Celtic Park on December 2, or for Rapid to fail to win in Hamburg that night, in order to clinch qualification.
Gutman expressed immense "pride" in his players following the impressive victory.
"People come to watch soccer just to see goals like these," he told reporters.
"Just like I said in Israel [a fortnight ago after our 5-1 win], if you would have told me we'd get a result like this, I would have accused you of being drunk."
Hapoel actually had a shaky first few minutes, as goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama was called into action to thwart Veli Kavlak, before making a fine acrobatic save to keep out a long-range effort by Montenegran Branko Boskovic.
But, just when the pressure appeared to become relentless, Hapoel took a remarkable lead. Samuel Yeboah laid the ball off to Avihai Yadin some 30 yards from goal, and the Hapoel midfielder hit a thunderous shot which flew into the top corner slight deflection.
The confidence then set in and moments later the visitors should have found themselves two up. Itai Shechter played a breathtaking ball to Yeboah, but with only goalkeeper Helge Payer to beat, the Ghanaian hesitated and the chance went begging.
At the other end, Jelavic then broke clear down the left and cut the ball across to Boskovic, whose shot was
At the other end, Jelavic then broke clear down the left and cut the ball across to Boskovic, whose shot was blocked magnificently by the diving Douglas Da Silva.
Hapoel frustrated Vienna after the break, and doubled the lead on 65 minutes.
The immense Da Silva strode out from the back and found Gili Vermut. The midfield maestro's attempted pass to Yeboah was knocked back into his path, but if that was slightly fortunate, what came next was sublime, as he powered forward, knocked the ball passed Payer and slotted the ball into the empty net.
Twenty minutes from time, it was game over for the Austrians. Vermut collected the ball from Yeboah on the right, cut inside and played a terrific ball to Bibras Natkho, who calmly stroked the ball home.
The hosts were denied even a consolation goal in the closing minutes, as Albanian Hamdi Salilhi struck the foot of the post to compound the Austrians' misery.