Maccabi Tel Aviv's Tal Ben-Haim 370.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv can truly begin its preparations for next week’s Champions
League third qualifying round first-leg match against FC Basel after officially
securing its progress on Tuesday night, beating Hungarian champion Gyori ETO 2-1
at Bloomfield Stadium to complete a 4-1 aggregate conquest.
but booked its place in the third qualifying round with last week’s 2-0 firstleg
victory in Hungary. However, coach Paulo Sousa took no chances on Tuesday,
starting with his strongest available lineup, and he was rewarded with another
The only change from last week’s starting 11 was
forced on Sousa, with Tal Ben-Haim replacing the injured Rade
Ben-Haim made the most of his opportunity, scoring Maccabi’s
opener with a stylish finish in the 25th minute to end any lingering hope Gyori
may have had of recording a comeback.
Eran Zahavi put the icing on the
cake with his 79th-minute header, capping another impressive win for the
“I’m happy with the way we performed in both games,”
said Sousa. “My players are working hard and they deserve this
Maccabi was handed what was probably the toughest draw possible in
the third qualifying round on Friday when it was paired with Swiss champion
Basel has dominated the Swiss league in recent years, winning four
straight championships, and has risen to prominence in Europe over the past few
Basel, currently coached by Murat Yakin, defeated Manchester
United 2-1 to progress to the last 16 of the Champions League at the expense of
the English giant in 2011/2012 before reaching the Europa League semifinals last
The first leg will take place in Switzerland on July 30/31, with
the return leg to be played at Bloomfield the following week.
ominous prospect of facing Basel, Maccabi has already ensured itself at least
four more matches in continental competition, with the winner in the third
qualifying round to advance to a playoff for a Champions League group stage
berth, while the loser will be handed a second chance in the Europa League
Maccabi seized complete control right from the kickoff on
Tuesday and never allowed Gyori to gain a foothold in the match.
should have really given the hosts the lead in the 16th minute when he only had
goalkeeper Lubos Kamenar to beat, but he more than made up for his miss nine
Ben-Haim used his electric pace to latch onto Maharan
Radi’s perfectly timed ball, controlling it with one touch and slotting in the
opener with a second left-footed strike.
Despite ending the first half
with 13 attempts at goal, five of them on target, Maccabi had to wait until 11
minutes from time to double its advantage.
Omri Altman terrorized his
marker before lofting the ball towards the incoming Zahavi.
Martinez got a goal back for the visitors in the 86th minute, but that did
nothing to dampen the celebrations at the final whistle as Maccabi completed the
first step on the road to the group stage.