Mac TA beats Xazar, still must defend next week

An impressive first half performance saw Maccabi take a 3-0 lead in the 43rd minute, but Xazar’s away goal three minutes sealed the deal.

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July 15, 2011 07:21
1 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv

Maccabi Tel Aviv 311. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)

 
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Maccabi Tel Aviv took an important step towards securing its place in the Europa League third qualifying round on Thursday, defeating Xazar Lankaran FK of Azerbaijan 3-1 at Bloomfield Stadium.

An impressive first half performance saw Maccabi take a 3-0 lead in the 43rd minute, but Xazar’s away goal three minutes later means that Tel Aviv will still have plenty of work to do in Azerbaijan next Thursday.

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“We are pleased, but it could have been better,” coach Moti Ivanir said. “We conceded a needless goal and had chances to increase our lead in the second half. It won’t be easy next week.”

Earlier Thursday, Bnei Yehuda all but secured its progress to the third qualifying round, beating UE Sant Julià 2-0 in Andorra.

Pini Balili gave Bnei Yehuda an early lead in the sixth minute, with Nenad Marinkovic scoring in the 56th minute to give Yossi Abuksis’s team a lead it should have little trouble defending when it hosts the return leg next Thursday.

At Bloomfield, Maccabi took the lead in the 22nd minute, with Guillermo Israilevich lobbing a delightful ball towards Eliran Atar, whose shot was blocked by goalkeeper Kamran Agayev, but only as far as 18- year-old striker Moussa Konate, who tucked in the opener.

Six minutes before the break, an excellent team move ended with Konate squaring the ball for Atar for an easy goal.

Four minutes later, man-of-the-match Israilevich scored the goal he deserved when he stole the ball from under Agayev’s hand and bundled it into the back of the net.

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However, Tel Aviv’s defense was caught napping in first half stoppage time, with Andrei Muresan scoring a goal that gives Lankaran a fighting chance next week.

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