Hapoel playing for pride, UEFA coefficient in Bucharest

Hapoel Tel Aviv is determined to build on the momentum it picked up in its 3-1 derby victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv.

November 30, 2011 04:48
2 minute read.
Hapoel Tel Aviv celebrates

Hapoel Tel Aviv celebrates 311. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)

Despite no longer having any chance of advancing to the round of 32 in the Europa League, Hapoel Tel Aviv is determined to build on the momentum it picked up in its 3-1 derby victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv and collect all three points when it visits Rapid Bucharest in Romania on Wednesday night.

The 1-0 home defeat to Rapid in its Group C opener set the tone for Hapoel’s entire Europa campaign, with the Reds entering Wednesday’s encounter rooted to the bottom of their group after only managing to pick up their first point with a 3-3 draw at PSV Eindhoven in their most recent match four weeks ago.

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Besides pride and money (each group match victory is worth 140,000 euro), UEFA coefficient points will also be on the line in the Romanian capital, the importance of which has not been lost on star striker Toto Tamuz.

“Our next two matches against Rapid and Legia Warsaw are very important because we want to make sure we maintain our position in the rankings,” Tamuz said ahead of the team’s departure for Bucharest.

“Rapid has a crazy stadium, but we will do all we can to return with points because it is important to continue what we started in Eindhoven.

“We are leaving with a good feeling, and I hope we return with one as well because we are facing a crucial match against Maccabi Haifa next week. We enjoyed beating Maccabi Tel Aviv, and I hope we can show continuity. If there will be no continuity to the derby win it will mean nothing.”

Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv will be in action in the Europa League on Thursday.

A win for Haifa at AEK Larnaca in Cyprus, combined with a draw or better for Schalke 04 against Steaua Bucharest, will see the Greens secure their progress to the round of 32 with a match to spare.

Despite only picking up a single point from four matches, Maccabi Tel Aviv still has a theoretical chance of advancing.

Although, considering its recent struggles and the 5-1 thrashing it suffered against Besiktas JK in its group opener, the yellow-and-blue will be playing mainly for pride when the Turks visit Bloomfield.

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