(photo credit: Associated Press)
After seeing its arch-rival Hapoel Tel Aviv celebrate its progress to the Champions League group stage, Maccabi Tel Aviv is hoping it will have a chance to rejoice with its fans by advancing to the groups of the Europa League on Thursday night.
However, Maccabi has a mountain to climb at Bloomfield Stadium after losing 2-0 to Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the playoffs last week.
Tel Aviv desperately struggled in the French capital last week, and had PSG been any better than mediocre, the tie would have surely already been beyond Maccabi’s reach.
However, the Parisians could only score two goals, leaving Maccabi with an outside chance of advancing.
“We’ve got nothing to lose and this match will be wide open,” Maccabi manager Avi Nimni said.
“We will have to play an organized game so that we will not concede goals, but on the other hand we will need to attack as much as possible to score. We excelled against Olympiacos and knocked them out, but that doesn’t guarantee us anything.”
Maccabi will be without Barak Itzhaki for Thursday’s match, and for at least the next six months, after the striker tore his cruciate ligament in Sunday’s Premier League 1-0 loss to Maccabi Haifa.
Midfielder Albert Baning will also miss out through injury, but striker
Roberto Colautti is confident the yellow- and-blue can overturn the
“We are playing a good team with good players, but we need to be calm
and try and win,” the Argentine-born Israel international said.
“We believe we can do it. It is important we score the first goal. We
must remain patient and composed. We are improving with every game that
we play and we are not thinking of the possibility we will not advance.”