Maccabi Haifa Vladimir Dvalishvili_311.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Tel Aviv should have little trouble completing their
progress to the playoff round of the Europa League next week after claiming
comfortable victories on Thursday night.
Hapoel thrashed Liechtenstein’s
FC Vaduz 4-0 at Bloomfield Stadium, while Maccabi beat FK Zeljeznicar 2-0 in
The return legs will take place next Thursday, with Bnei Yehuda
also in action. Yossi Abuksis’s club visits Sweden’s Helsingborgs IF after
recording a 1-0 victory in the first leg on Tuesday.
Maccabi was on the
back foot for much of the first half on Thursday, but the introductions of
Roberto Colautti and Guillermo Israilevich after the break turned the match on
Colautti tucked in the opener less than two minutes into the
second half before doubling the yellowand- blue’s lead with a splendid lob from
the edge of the area in the 56th minute.
Maccabi squandered several
golden opportunities to extend its lead in the remainder of the second half, but
a two-goal cushion should ensure smooth sailing for Moti Ivanir’s team next
Hapoel didn’t have it all its own way at Bloomfield, but it
eventually managed to build a lead that should ensure next Thursday’s return leg
will be no more than a formality.
“I think that considering that this was
our first official match of the season the team looked quite good,” Hapoel coach
Dror Kashtan said. “We controlled the possession and created a lot of scoring
There is still plenty to improve and we will continue
working hard. However, I’m certainly pleased with how the team played
The Reds made the breakthrough in the 24th minute, with Omri
Kende bursting down the right flank before squaring a powerful ball that was
turned into the back of the net by Vaduz’s Pascal Bader.
Hapoel fans had
to wait patiently before they saw their team double its lead, with Toto Tamuz
heading in his first goal of the season from a Kende cross in first half
Three minutes into the second half, Omer Damari got off
the mark as an Hapoel player, scoring in his debut with Kende once more the
Matthias Baron should have scored an away goal for Vaduz –
which plays in the Swiss second division – in the 56th minute, but he could only
hit the post with just Hapoel goalkeeper Edel Apoula to beat.
minutes from time, Elroei Cohen also got on the score sheet, giving Kashtan’s
men a lead they should be able to easily defend on their way to the playoffs.