Jerusalem fans behave but yellow-and-black loses 4-1 to Charleroi, while Southerners fall in Switzerland
By ALLON SINAI
Beitar Jerusalem’s Europa League campaign ended as expected on Thursday night, while Hapoel Beersheba was also sent packing in the second qualifying round following a painful defeat in Switzerland.Nine-man Beitar was thrashed 5-1 in the first leg against Charleroi last week and its humbling continental experience was completed on Thursday with a 4-1 defeat at Teddy Stadium for a 9-2 thrashing on aggregate.At least there was no fan trouble in Jerusalem, after the first leg was held up at the start when Beitar supporters threw dozens of incendiary devices onto the pitch, enveloping it in smoke. In second half stoppage time last week, Charleroi goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau was hit by a hard object thrown from the crowd, which forced another delay.Beersheba was confident of advancing to the third qualifying round on Thursday despite conceding an 87th-minute equalizer to draw 1-1 with FC Thun at Teddy in the first leg last week. However, after taking an early lead it lost defender Shir Tzedek to a red card in the 19th minute and ultimately dropped to a 2-1 defeat in Switzerland and a 3-2 loss on aggregate.John Ogu’s brilliant goal after six minutes put Beersheba in a fantastic position, with the Nigerian stealing the ball in the center of the field before catching goalkeeper Guillaume Faivre by surprise with his shot from 40 meters out.However, Tzedek’s sending off for elbowing Simone Rapp seriously complicated Beersheba’s situation and Nelson Ferreira leveled the score for the hosts five minutes from the interval. Ferreira then moved Thun in front on 72 minutes and Beersheba couldn’t find a second crucial goal which would have sent it through on away goals.Israel’s only representative in the third qualifying round will be Ironi Kiryat Shmona, which will begin its participation at that stage after ending last season in second place. Kiryat Shmona will play Slovan Liberec of the Czech Republic next week.AdvertisementIn Jerusalem, Beitar took a 16th-minute lead thanks to Omer Atzily’s excellent solo effort, but it lost its way after Neeskens Kebano equalized in the 43rd minute, with Enes Saglik (53), Dieumerci Ndongala (76) and Florent Stevance (92) scoring in the second half to give the Belgians an emphatic win.“We played well in the first half of both matches, but we didn’t see the Beitar we would like to see in the second halves,” said Beitar coach Slobodan Drapic. “We are missing several key players and I’m sure that once they come back we will be a much better team.”Drapic admitted that it wasn’t easy to prepare the team in the aftermath of the first leg and said he hopes owner Eli Tabib will ultimately decide to remain at the club.“We had to deal with a lot and we just want all of this to be behind us,” said Drapic.“Tabib told me to prepare the team for the league and I believe we will have a strong team. Tabib doesn’t share everything with me, but I hope that for his and Beitar’s sake he will continue at the club.”Beitar is waiting to discover what punishment it will face from UEFA for the behavior of its fans last week. UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body discussed the matter on Thursday, but didn’t announce a decision.
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