Maccabi Tel Aviv 311.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
It may not have been the rout its fans had hoped for, but Maccabi Tel Aviv took
a significant step towards the third qualifying round of the Europa League on
Thursday night, beating FK Mogren of Montenegro 2-0 at Bloomfield
After bringing in 10 new players over the summer, there were
high expectations from the new-look Maccabi in its first official match. Eight
of new coach Yossi Mizrahi’s 11 starters were making their debut and some
supporters were already getting frustrated after the first half ended in a
However, two goals in the first seven minutes of the
second half gave Maccabi a cushion it should easily hold on to when it
Montenegro for the return leg next Thursday.
Maccabi will learn who it
could next face when the draw for the third qualifying round is made in
Switzerland, on Friday. Maccabi Haifa and Bnei Yehuda, which faced
Rovers in Dublin late Thursday night, will also be waiting nervously to
who they are paired with in the third qualifying round.
Mogren from the start, but struggled to create clear-cut chances. The
fans on hand had to wait until the 23rd minute before they saw Barak
come centimeters from scoring the opener.
A powerful volley from the
former Betar Jerusalem striker was only kept out by the post in what
to be Tel Aviv’s best opportunity of the first 45 minutes.
Montenegrins’ cynical tactics frustrated Maccabi and coach Yossi Mizrahi
forward Yuval Avidor in place of defensive midfielder Shiran Yeini at
in the hope of breaking down the Mogren defense.
In the first minute of
the second half Avidor laid the ball off for Roberto Colautti, but the
international slipped and sent his shot wide.
Less than two minutes later
Maor Buzaglo’s volley was well saved by Ivan Janjusevic, however the
would gift Maccabi the opener a minute later.
Despite reaching Yoav Ziv’s
effort from outside the box, Janjusevic made a complete mess of his save
ball rolled over his outstretched hands into the back of the net.
hosts kept their foot on the gas in the subsequent minutes and it was
was only a matter of time until they would score their second goal.
the 50th minute, Klemi Saban squandered a golden opportunity, but it was
forgotten two minutes later when Bosnian Haris Medunjanin doubled the
lead with a clinical finish.
Maccabi continued to push forward in search
of a third goal, but it was clear the team still needs time to gel and
will be expecting a vast improvement by the time the Premier League gets
way next month.