(photo credit: )
Maccabi Tel Aviv suffered an embarrassing 1-0 defeat to Andorran minnows Santa Coloma in the UEFA Cup first qualifying round on Thursday evening.
The Israeli side will now be in a must-win situation when it returns home to Bloomfield for the second leg on August 2.
Santa Coloma, a team made up of amateur players which finished second in the Andorran league last season, became the first Andorran club to win a game against European competition since the Andorran Football Association joined UEFA in 1996.
The only goal of the game at the Estadi Comunal in Andorra La Vella was scored 10 minutes after half time by Julia Fernandez, Andorra's goal scorer in his country's 4-1 defeat by Israel in a Euro 2008 qualifier last September.
Maccabi had applied pressure early on in the match and Dudu Biton had a golden opportunity after 12 minutes, but his breakaway shot went straight into the hands of waiting goalkeeper Ricart Fernandez.
Santa Coloma had a chance to steal the lead off a bad clearance by Tel Aviv in the 24th minute, but Guy Solomon, starting as Maccabi goalkeeper in place of the ineligible Dragoslav Jevric, made a tremendous save and Shiran Yeini cleared the rebound shot off the line to keep the game scoreless.
As the second half began, the heat began to take its toll on the visitors, and Fernandez made them pay dearly for their lackluster efforts.
A headed ball into the box from a 56th minute corner kick fell to Fernandez who chipped in past Solomon.
Following the goal Maccabi played with no sense of urgency and Santa Coloma allowed Tel Aviv few opportunities to come back into the game.
As the final whistle sounded a dejected Maccabi coach Eli Cohen said, "We knew that we did not have our complete roster, but even with this starting lineup we had to win. We will have to correct this failure. We will not make any excuses about this loss."
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