Champions League losses in soccer, hoops

Pair of Israeli clubs eliminated in Europe, as Mac TA falls to Salzburg and Hap Jerusalem beaten by Burgos

RED BULL SALZBURG’S Dominik Szoboszlai scores his club’s second goal past Maccabi Tel Aviv ’keeper Daniel Tenenbaum from the penalty spot in the 45th minute of Salzburg’s 3-1 victory over the yellow-and-blue in Champions League action from Austria. (photo credit: REUTERS)
RED BULL SALZBURG’S Dominik Szoboszlai scores his club’s second goal past Maccabi Tel Aviv ’keeper Daniel Tenenbaum from the penalty spot in the 45th minute of Salzburg’s 3-1 victory over the yellow-and-blue in Champions League action from Austria.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Maccabi Tel Aviv was eliminated from Champions League play after succumbing to FC Salzburg 3-1 in the second leg of their playoff tie (5-2 on aggregate in the two games) at Red Bull Arena in Austria on Wednesday night.
The yellow-and-blue will now enter the Europa League and will find out its three opponents at the group stage draw slated to take place on Friday.
On Wednesday, Salzburg dominated play early with the first of two Patson Daka goals, but an Eden Kartzev scorcher gave Maccabi hope later on in the first half.
However, a Dominik Szoboszlai penalty at the stroke of halftime and Daka’s second-half header sent the Austrians into the Champions League as Maccabi settled for the Europa League.
“I’m happy with what we have done up to now,” said an upbeat Maccabi coach Giorgis Donis. “We were without many players due to them having been infected with the coronavirus. The players battled as one unit and did the best they could. We are building slowly, but surely, a good team with my philosophy.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv came into the game down 2-1 after falling to Salzburg last week at Bloomfield Stadium and was without 11 regular squad players due to being infected with the coronavirus. However, Donis still had plenty of firepower as the Greek tactician looked to overcome the one-goal deficit and book his team's spot in the Champions League group stages.
Itay Shechter, Eylon Almog and Dan Bitton started up front, Eyal Golasa and Kartzev manned the midfield, Eitan Tibi, captain Sheran Yeini and Ben Bitton were the central defenders. Ofir Davidzada and Maor Kandil were the defensive backs while Daniel Tenenbaum was in goal.
Enock Mwepu had Salzburg’s first chance of the game in the third minute, but Tenenbaum was in place to make the save.
That wouldn’t be the case, however, almost 15 minutes later, when Daka pounced on a ball right in the Maccabi box and sent a strong shot by the right of Tenenbaum to give the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute.
Szoboszlai’s corner went straight to Mwepu, but his header missed the target in the 20th minute while Sekou Koita’s chance was blocked five minutes later.
However, just as Salzburg looked to have taken control of the match, Kartzev blasted a thunderous second effort to draw Maccabi even at 1-1 in the 30th minute.
Koita and Szoboszlai’s chances soon thereafter were both taken care of by Tenenbaum to keep the score tied. But just before the half-time whistle, Masaya Okugawa was fouled by Matan Baktaksa in the box as Salzburg was issued a penalty which Szoboszlai converted to give Salzburg a 2-1 lead as Donis was ejected for arguing with the referee.
Maccabi opened the second half looking to score a pair of goals in order to advance to the groups stages as Almog tried his luck in the 52nd minute while Dan Bitton’s terrific effort four minutes later missed the goal by inches.
The yellow-and-blue brought on Matan Hozez in place of Ben Bitton to add some firepower up front, but Salzburg took advantage of the situation as Daka scored a clean header from right in front of the goal to give Jesse Marsch’s club a 3-1 lead in the 69th minute.
Amit Glazer entered the fray replacing Kandil while Ronen Hansis came in for Almog as Maccabi’s final two substitutes of the clash.
The two sides played out the balance of the game primarily in the midfield as Salzburg took the victory and advanced to the Champions League while Maccabi settled for the Europa League group stages, returning to Europe for the first time since the 2017/18 season.
Meanwhile, in basketball action, Hapoel Jerusalem was dominated by San Pablo Burgos on Wednesday, falling 92-65 in the Champions League Final Eight quarterfinals as the curtain fell on the Reds’ 2019/20 European campaign.
Jerusalem had advanced to the last stage of the tournament back in March when it defeated Peristeri in the round-of-16, but due to the coronavirus the continental season was put on hold until this week.
In Athens, Burgos came out strong right off the bat and never looked back as it pounded the ball inside to Dejan Kravic who controlled the paint throughout the contest while Thad McFadden drilled home his three-point opportunities from the outside to cruise to the win over an over-matched Hapoel.
Nikos Pappas, who joined Oded Katash’s team on Saturday led the Reds in scoring with 13 points while Luka Mitrovic matched that total as well. Suleiman Braimoh and TaShawn Thomas each scored 12 points in the loss.
Dejan Kravic clocked in with a double-double for Burgos with 18 points and 10 rebounds, Thad McFadden scored 18 points including four three-pointers, Jordan Sakho added 13 points and Alex Renfroe chipped in with 10 points in the victory.
“Almost everything went wrong for us,” said a disappointed Katash. “It was a tough loss. We knew we were going to face a very good team and they were more ready than us. We had to play a perfect game to give us a chance to win, but it wasn’t our night the way we played.”
Thomas also reflected on the defeat.
“I’m definitely going to remember this game for the rest of the season,” said Hapoel’s 27-year-old forward. “After the game I told the team we have to learn from this and we have to move on. We have the whole Israeli League season and 20/21 Champions League campaigns ahead of us. We have to just move on.”
Burgos jumped out to a 11-6 lead midway through the first quarter as Kravic worked the inside for the Spanish squad while Thomas and Mitrovic tried to keep Jerusalem within reach.
However, Kravic and veterans Renfroe and Omar Cook extended the advantage to 23-15 after 10 minutes of play.
Pappas opened the scoring in the second quarter, but a trio of triples by diminutive guard McFadden inflicted further damage on Katash’s team.
Jerusalem continued to shoot blanks as Tamir Blatt and Malcolm Hill were held scoreless while committing a combined seven turnovers over the course of the first half, allowing Burgos to hold a 49-32 lead at halftime.
Joan Penarroya’s squad came out on fire to start the third quarter as Kravic scored in the paint and Renfroe found the basket from outside as Pappas tried in vain to keep the game respectable.
Hill scored his first points of the game for the Reds, but McFadden, Kravic and Xavier Rabaseda kept putting the ball in the bucket to give Burgos a 77-48 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
The final frame was a reflection of the previous three quarters as Jordan Sakho began to score for Burgos as it ran away with the 27-point conquest.