Soccer: Unimpressive Hapoel TA beaten by Anderlecht

Sole Israeli representative in Europe defeated 2-0 by Belgian champion.

By JEREMY LAST
October 26, 2007 00:28
2 minute read.
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Hapoel Tel Aviv's UEFA Cup group-stage campaign got off to a less than auspicious start at Constant Vanden Stock Stadium when the sole Israeli representative in Europe was beaten 2-0 by Belgian champion RSC Anderlecht. While last season Hapoel was able to counter its bad form in the league with an impressive European run, the Tel Aviv team looked bereft of ideas and attacking opportunities on a chilly night in Brussels. Its performance reflected its second-from-bottom position in the Israeli league. Argentinean Nicolas Frutos scored a goal late in each half to give the Belgians a comfortable victory and leave the Israelis awaiting a more ominous home game against English side Tottenham Hotspur at Bloomfield Stadium in two weeks. Anderlecht had not won a European game at home for eight matches but proved its worth in a dull game with few scoring opportunities. Although both sides looked less than penetrating, the home team's 20-year-old winger Jonathan Leager often terrorized the Hapoel defense on the right wing. Anderlecht showed its intent even in the third minute. Hapoel's Congolese midfielder Mazua Ensombo gave the ball away on the edge of the penalty area and although the header from Frutos flew wide, it was to be a sign of things to come. Despite hard work from Ensombo and Fabio Junior, Hapoel found it difficult to launch any meaningful attacks in the opening period. Striker Lior Asulin resorted to long-range shots that soared over the crossbar of Anderlecht 'keeper Daniel Zitka. Tel Aviv midfielder Reuven Oved had a weak effort saved by Zitka in the 10th minute, but it was the only chance Hapoel could muster in the first 15 minutes. Hapoel found it hard to string passes together while the home side pushed forward. But despite controlling play, Anderlecht had little to show for its possession in the first half hour. Both teams gave the ball away too often leaving Luzon, dressed splendidly in his velvet jacket, screaming on the touchline. Frutos finally made the breakthrough in the 37th minute. A long range shot clattered against the crossbar and the Argentinean knocked in the rebound past Hapoel 'keeper Vincent Enyeama. In an effort to liven things up, Luzon took off Oved and replaced him with Idan Srur on 57 minutes. There was little action in the second half until Anderlecht scored its second when Frutas headed in from a freekick in the 73rd minute . In the other game in Group G, Spurs was beaten 2-1 by Spanish side Getafe at White Hart Lane. Jermaine Defoe scored the first for Tottenham on 19 minutes, but goals by Rube De La Red two minutes later and Braulio 20 minutes from the end sealed an historic win for the visitors.

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