Local Soccer: Sakhnin to face La Coruna after Intertoto win

The stadium in Haifa will no doubt be far fuller for the game against the Spaniards in the third round than it was on Saturday.

bnei sakhnin 88 (photo credit: )
bnei sakhnin 88
(photo credit: )
Bnei Sakhnin set up a mouthwatering tie against Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday night after defeating Macedonian team FK Renova 1-0 at Kiryat Eliezer in the second round of the UEFA Intertoto Cup. The stadium in Haifa will no doubt be far fuller for the game against the Spaniards in the third round than it was on Saturday, when just a handful of fans made the trip to see Hamad Ganayem score the winner after 17 minutes. Ganayem's superb strike from well outside the area was one of only a few exciting moments in an otherwise dull game. Renova finished fifth in the Macedonian league and hardly competed against a Sakhnin midfield which included a possible future star in Yaniv Luzon. The result gave Saknin a 3-1 aggregate win after beating Renova 2-1 in Macedonia last week. Sakhnin coach Fredi David admitted that his team did not play wonderful soccer but insisted the standard will improve for the first leg of the La Coruna tie, due to be played in Israel next weekend. "It was a good game for this stage of the season but I didn't really enjoy watching the team," David told Sport5 after the game. "In Europe it is important to come and win, sometimes playing well, sometimes not as well." Sakhnin has already signed Hapoel Tel Aviv's Tal Hen and is close to securing the services of Congolese midfielder Mazua Ensombo. Both were in the crowd on Saturday night and could be in the starting line up next week. The winner of the Sakhnin vs Deportivo tie will win a place in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Cup. "Israeli soccer needs to enjoy games like this," David said about the upcoming match. "We will try and do the maximum for our crowd. It is not every day a team like this comes to Israel. We believe in our soccer." One of Spain's oldest clubs, La Coruna has had a poor time of late. It finished last season in ninth place and has not had success in Europe for a number of years. However, Sakhnin will be relishing the opportunity to welcome a club which won the La Liga title in 2001 and reached the Champions League semifinal in 2004. Adding to the spice will be Israel's national team goalkeeper Dudu Awat, who still plays for Deportivo, despite the publication of constant rumors that he may soon be leaving the team.