Euro Soccer: Hap TA dumped out of UEFA Cup

Israel's only representative in Europe loses 3-1 at home to Danish side at Bloomfield Stadium.

Hap TA Aalborg BK 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Hap TA Aalborg BK 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Hapoel Tel Aviv's league form finally caught up with it in the UEFA Cup on Wednesday night. Despite desperately struggling in the Premier League, Hapoel somehow managed to defeat Spanish club Getafe 2-1 in its last UEFA Cup match and gave itself a reasonable chance to advance to the last 32 of the prestigious competition for a second straight year. Tel Aviv needed on Wednesday was to defeat Danish club Aalborg BK at Bloomfield Stadium and for Getafe to get the better of Anderlecht in Spain. Getafe did Hapoel the favor it needed by defeating Anderlecht 2-0, but Tel Aviv's sorry side was humbled 3-1 by the Danes, which entered the match with nothing to play for. Kasper Risgard gave the visitors the lead in the 27th minute from an offside position, but Fabio Junior seemed to give the 2,000 Hapoel fans that made the effort to support their hopeless side some hope with an equalizer in first half stoppage time. It was, however, no more than wishful thinking for the Tel Aviv hopeful as second half goals by Michael Jakobsen and Thomas Enevoldsen doomed the hosts to yet another defeat. Tel Aviv got off to an encouraging start, with Junior hitting the crossbar after six minutes with a right footed lob. Hapoel continued to control the possession, but it was the visitors who were the more dangerous. In the 14th minute Caca hit a powerful shot from the corner of the box that was collected by keeper Vincent Enyeama. Hapoel's luck, however, would run out in the 27th minute when the referee Jan Wegereef failed to spot an Aalborg offside and the visitors scored. Caca found Risgard two meters from the hosts goal line and even Enyeama couldn't come to his team's rescue. Tel Aviv didn't deserve to go into the interval a goal down and got a well earned equalizer in first half stoppage time. Baruch Dego left Junior with only keeper Karim Zaza to beat and the Brazilian smashed the ball into the net to tie the score. Two minutes into the second half Junior almost bagged his second goal of the match when his shot from 20 meters whistled by the Danes upright. Tel Aviv would live to regret that missed chance as just two minutes later Aalborg regained the lead. Curth was brought down in the box by midfielder Mazowa Nsumbu, who was playing in the defense in place of the injured Gabriel dos Santos, and Jakobsen converted the penalty with ease. Five minutes later, Hapoel's European campaign was over. Risgard found an unmarked Enevoldsen in the hosts' box and he made no mistake in front of an empty net.