Bnei Yehuda edged by PSV in 1st leg

Luzon's Oranges lose 1-0 at home while Hapoel TA win 2-1 in the Czech Republic.

bnei yehuda 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
bnei yehuda 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Hapoel Tel Aviv moved to the brink of qualification for the Europa League's group stage on Thursday night, while Bnei Yehuda's hopes of advancing suffered a significant blow. Hapoel defeated FK Teplice 2-1 in the Czech Republic in the first leg of the playoffs thanks to Gili Vermut's sensational winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Half an hour later the final whistle blew on Bnei Yehuda's 1-0 loss to Dutch giant PSV Eindhoven at Bloomfield Stadium and will need a miracle in the second leg in the Netherlands next week to progress. After defeating IFK Göteborg 3-1 on the road in the first leg of the third qualifying round, Hapoel was aiming for a similar result on Thursday and came very close to achieving it. Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama scored from the spot after Vermut was brought down in the box in the 74th minute, but the match seemed destined to end in a tie after Tomas Vondrasek equalized for the hosts in the 89th minute. However, in the 94th minute of the match Vermut toyed with his defender on the right flank before placing the ball in between the 'keeper and the post with superb accuracy. "I'm glad I managed to create a penalty and score such an important goal," Vermut said. "However, the tie is not over yet and we will need to finish the job next week." While Hapoel will be expected to advance at Bloomfield next Thursday, Bnei Yehuda will need to win on the road to keep its European campaign alive. Bnei Yehuda strolled through the first three qualifying rounds, winning all six matches by a combined goal difference of 11-0. However, the team was far from its best against PSV on Thursday and Ibrahim Afellay scored in the 23rd minute to give the visitors a valuable away victory. "I always believe," said coach Guy Luzon when asked if his team can win in Eindhoven and advance to the group stage after all. "We faced a top team, but in a single match we can do it. My players gave their all and I thought we deserved to score. We will do everything to stun Eindhoven on the road." Both Bnei Yehuda and PSV were cautions at the start of the match, with the hosts looking nervous against their illustrious opponents. It took 12 minutes for Bnei Yehuda's Oz Raly to register the first shot on goal, but it was the visitors who came closest to scoring at the beginning of the encounter, with Ola Toivonen blasting the ball above goal from a couple of meters out. Nine minutes later the hosts had their best chance of the first half and should have really taken the lead. Asi Baldut found Moshe Biton in the box, but Eliran Atar's replacement went for power instead of precision and goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson kept the ball out with an instinctive save. Two minutes later, Eindhoven reached two golden opportunities within 60 seconds and took the lead. Balazs Dzsudzsak was first denied by Dele Aiyenugba, but just moments later he passed the ball perfectly for Afellay and the Dutch international accurately placed his shot in the bottom right corner. The goal completely took the wind out of Bnei Yehuda's sails and Guy Luzon's team failed to threaten Isaksson in the remainder of the half. Eight minutes after the interval the hosts nearly tied the score, but Maharan Radi's shot missed the target by centimeters. Despite pushing forward in the subsequent minutes, Bnei Yehuda couldn't breach the PSV defense and the visitors held on to their slender lead until the final whistle.