K8 down but not yet out facing 2-0 deficit to BATE

Kiryat Shmona is guaranteed a place in the Europa League group stage even if it falls to BATE.

Kiryat Shmona 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Kiryat Shmona 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Despite having an Everest-ish magnitude of a mountain to climb on Tuesday night, Ironi Kiryat Shmona coach Gili Landau is confident his team can overcome a 2-0 deficit when it hosts BATE Borisov in the return leg of the Champions League playoffs.
Two goals from Vitali Rodionov in Belarus last Wednesday put Borisov on the verge of qualifying for the Champions League group stage for the third time in five years after previous appearances in 2008/09 and 2011/12.
Kiryat Shmona is guaranteed a place in the Europa League group stage even if it falls to BATE, but coach Landau believes his players are not content with what they have achieved so far and are capable of recording the upset at National Stadium in Ramat Gan.
“We could enter this match with the attitude that we have already achieved our goal or we could do so believing that we can go all the way,” said Landau, whose team is bidding to become the fourth Israeli club to qualify for the group stage, joining Maccabi Haifa, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Tel Aviv. “We are facing a very strong team, but we can accomplish what looks to be impossible.”
Landau singled out patience as the decisive factor to Tuesday’s match.
“We want to win this match, but we want to win it with brains and patience,” he said.
“We will not rush matters. We respect our opponent and know all about its strengths and weaknesses. We must be ready for everything and find the right balance between defense and offense.”
BATE is unbeaten in its past 15 qualifying matches in continental competition, but Kiryat Shmona has impressed in its home games to date, beating MSK Zilina of Slovakia 2-0 for a 2-1 aggregate victory and thrashing Neftci PFK of Azerbaijan 4-0 for a 6-2 aggregate win.
Besides missing the injured David Solari and Bryan Gerzicich, Kiryat Shmona will also be without Dusan Matovic, who was sent off in the first leg.
Nevertheless, Kiryat Shmona goalkeeper Danny Amos is optimistic the team can add another 5.1 million euro in prize money to the 2.1 million euro it has already pocketed for reaching this stage.
“We have already come back from a first leg deficit in this campaign,” said Amos, referring to Kiryat Shmona’s win over Zilina. “We have played teams just as strong as Borisov and we can do this.”