Maccabi, Hapoel Tel Aviv begin third round in style
Teams should have little trouble completing their progress to the playoff round of the Europa League next week after claiming comfortable victories.
By ALLON SINAI
Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Tel Aviv should have little trouble completing their progress to the playoff round of the Europa League next week after claiming comfortable victories on Thursday night.Hapoel thrashed Liechtenstein’s FC Vaduz 4-0 at Bloomfield Stadium, while Maccabi beat FK Zeljeznicar 2-0 in Bosnia.The return legs will take place next Thursday, with Bnei Yehuda also in action. Yossi Abuksis’s club visits Sweden’s Helsingborgs IF after recording a 1-0 victory in the first leg on Tuesday.Maccabi was on the back foot for much of the first half on Thursday, but the introductions of Roberto Colautti and Guillermo Israilevich after the break turned the match on its head.Colautti tucked in the opener less than two minutes into the second half before doubling the yellowand- blue’s lead with a splendid lob from the edge of the area in the 56th minute.Maccabi squandered several golden opportunities to extend its lead in the remainder of the second half, but a two-goal cushion should ensure smooth sailing for Moti Ivanir’s team next week.Hapoel didn’t have it all its own way at Bloomfield, but it eventually managed to build a lead that should ensure next Thursday’s return leg will be no more than a formality.“I think that considering that this was our first official match of the season the team looked quite good,” Hapoel coach Dror Kashtan said. “We controlled the possession and created a lot of scoring opportunities.There is still plenty to improve and we will continue working hard. However, I’m certainly pleased with how the team played today.”The Reds made the breakthrough in the 24th minute, with Omri Kende bursting down the right flank before squaring a powerful ball that was turned into the back of the net by Vaduz’s Pascal Bader.Hapoel fans had to wait patiently before they saw their team double its lead, with Toto Tamuz heading in his first goal of the season from a Kende cross in first half stoppage time.Three minutes into the second half, Omer Damari got off the mark as an Hapoel player, scoring in his debut with Kende once more the provider.Matthias Baron should have scored an away goal for Vaduz – which plays in the Swiss second division – in the 56th minute, but he could only hit the post with just Hapoel goalkeeper Edel Apoula to beat.Eight minutes from time, Elroei Cohen also got on the score sheet, giving Kashtan’s men a lead they should be able to easily defend on their way to the playoffs.
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