Bnei Yehuda advances; not Netanya

Bnei Yehuda cruises into the 3rd qualifying round of the Europa League with a 1-0 win in Armenia over FC Shirak.

BNEI YEHUDA midfielder Shalev Menashe 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
BNEI YEHUDA midfielder Shalev Menashe 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Bnei Yehuda cruised into the third qualifying round of the Europa League on Thursday night with a 1-0 win in Armenia over FC Shirak, while Maccabi Netanya suffered a humbling exit despite winning by the same score-line at KuPS Kuopio of Finland.
Shalev Menashe scored the only goal of the match for Bnei Yehuda to complete a 3-0 aggregate win and book a meeting with PAOK Thessaloniki of Greece.
Netanya’s 1-0 win in Finland, courtesy of Ahmed Saba’s goal, tied the aggregate score at 2-2, but the Israelis were sent packing on away goals after losing 2-1 in the first leg at home last week.
Netanya went into the lead in the 40th minute when the Premier League’s top scorer from last season collected Omer Peretz’s pass and beat goalkeeper Mike Hilander.
Despite tying the aggregate score, Netanya still needed another goal to advance, but the hosts had the better of the second half chances, squandering several golden opportunities.
Pedro Galvan’s goal deep into first leg stoppage time last week ensured Bnei Yehuda had a comfortable 2-0 cushion ahead of the return leg in Armenia and the Israelis lead was never threatened.
Any hope Shirak may have had of mounting a comeback ended in the 31st minute when Menashe scored the breakthrough with an accurate left-footed strike.
Bnei Yehuda’s away goal meant the Armenians required four goals to advance and it was plain sailing for Dror Kashtan’s men after that.
Matters will get far more complicated for Bnei Yehuda in the next round, with PAOK one of Greek soccer’s biggest clubs.
PAOK finished fifth in the league last season to qualify directly for the Europa League third qualifying round.
Thessaloniki is looking to add another chapter to a rich history in continental competitions after progressing past the group stage and reaching the round of 32 of the Europa League in each of the past two seasons.