CL: Bruchian bags brace as Betar pulls off historic win

Jerusalem defeats Krakow 2-1 at Teddy in first leg of Champions League second qualifying round.

betar Wisla Krakow 224.8 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
betar Wisla Krakow 224.8
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The European dream is well and truly alive for Betar Jerusalem. Aviram Bruchian was the hero for the Israeli Premier League champion on Wednesday night, scoring two second half goals to give his team a 2-1 come from behind win over Wisla Krakow in the first leg of the Champions League second qualifying round at Teddy Stadium. It was the first time Betar has won a European tie at home since 1997, when it defeated Portuguese giant Benfica 4-2 in the second leg of a Champions League second qualifying round. However, unlike that game 11 years ago, when Jerusalem had already lost 6-0 in the first leg, all will be to play for when the team from the capital travels to Poland for the away leg next week. A terrible mix up between Betar goalkeeper Tvrtko Kale and defender Tomer Ben-Yosef gifted the visiting Polish team a 1-0 lead half an hour into the encounter on Wednesday. But Jerusalem battled on in the second half and will be relishing Thursday's draw for the third and final qualifying round, when it could be paired with a top European side the likes of Barcelona, Juventus and Arsenal. Itzhak Schum's team will still have a mammoth task ahead of it in the second leg in Krakow, after giving away a crucial away goal in the first half. Krakow's star striker Pawel Brozek, who led all scorers in the Polish league last season with 23 goals, had a point to prove to Polish national team coach Leo Beenhakker after he was left out of his country's Euro 2008 squad. And he put the visiting team ahead just before the half hour mark, heading over Kale who collided with Ben-Yosef. Arik Benado attempted to clear it off the line but there was no way back and the referee signaled for a goal. The stadium went quiet, filled with tension, as the crowd saw a mistake by the Croatian stopper reminiscent of the error he made in the first leg of the qualifier against FC Copenhagen this time last year. But, after losing confidence and chasing the game for the remainder of the half, Betar came out rejuvenated in the second period. The substitution at half time of Idan Tal, who had a poor first period was key. Michael Zandberg came on in his place and performed far better on the left wing than the former Bolton Wanderers midfielder. Kale also proved his worth in the second half, making amends for his mistake with a number of important saves to keep Jerusalem in the tie. The introduction of Barak Itzhaki buoyed the crowd, inspiring the goal which came two minutes after the former Genk striker came on. Bruchian's first, in the 60th minute, was a piece of individual skill. The midfielder who has worked his way up from the youth team at Betar, broke through on the right hand side and unleashed a shot along the ground which spun into the corner past Krakow 'keeper Mariusz Pawlek. A quarter of an hour later the hosts were ahead. Bruchian played a clever one two with new signing Sebastian Abreu and fired in an unstoppable shot to put Jerusalem in the lead. \Abreu had arrived in Jerusalem earlier this month with a fanfare after winning the Argentinian league with River Plate. However, he had a quiet debut, regularly giving the ball away with poor passes in the first half, and will need to improve if he is to make the impact expected of him. The veteran Uruguayan international thought he had scored on 33 minutes when he put the ball past Pawlek after Bruchian had made a superb run from the right wing, but it was ruled offside. From the start Krakow began playing the long ball game which had troubled Liverpool so much in a preseason friendly. But it was Betar which came closest to scoringfirst when in the fifth minute Argentinian midfielder Dario Fernandez broke through the middle. Pawlek parried his shot, but just about saved the second effort by Tamuz, who stormed into the six yard box. Glowacki Arkadiusz forced the first save from Kale when he headed the ball down from a corner and the Jerusalem stopper reacted well to palm it over the cross bar. Besides the goal, Tomer Ben-Yosef was on top of his game for most of the match, making it first to most balls into his area of the pitch and clearing up at the back. Yoav Ziv also had an impressive game for the hosts from when he began pushing forward from the left back position to join the attacks, with a speculative effort going wide on 26 minutes proving his danger. A strong defensive display by Ziv and the rest of the back four next week could ensure history is made in Poland.