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Hapoel Tel Aviv coach Eli Gutman turned his attention back to the Premier League this weekend after the Reds were ousted from the Europa League by Rubin Kazan on Thursday.
The 3-0 defeat in Russia a week ago ensured it needed to win at least 3-0 to have a chance of advancing to the last 16.
But following a 0-0 draw with Kazan at a rainy Bloomfield Stadium, Gutman expressed pride in his team’s European accomplishments this season.
Tel Aviv battled through the qualifying rounds into the Europa League group stage where it achieved superb results, finishing top of its group with victories over Celtic, Rapid Vienna and Hamburg.
“Even though the score was still 0-0 in the 90th minute the players were still running and making an effort to win the match. These are the things that give me great satisfaction and make me proud of the players,” Gutman said.
Goalkeeper Vincent Enyema added: “We knew it would be very difficult to come back from three goals down. This is part of the game and there wasn’t anything we could do about it.
“Now we have finished our journey in Europe and we have to try and make the fans happy in the league. This is the most important thing.”
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Tel Aviv’s campaign continues on Sunday with a crucial match-up against Bnei Sakhnin at home, the same day that league leader Maccabi Haifa hosts Ashdod SC.
Haifa will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s shock defeat at Maccabi Netanya, only the third time this season it has dropped points.
Colombian midfielder John Culma is expected to return to coach Elisha Levy’s starting line up.
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