Sakhnin loses Intertoto tie to La Coruna

Sakhnin put up a fighting performance on Saturday, but Juan Carlos Valeron scored the only goal of the encounter in the 40th minute.

bnei sakhnin 88 (photo credit: )
bnei sakhnin 88
(photo credit: )
Bnei Sakhnin held its own against Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday night but was still knocked out of the Intertoto Cup after losing 1-0 at the Riazor Stadium. The almost impossible mission of erasing the 2-1 deficit from the third round first leg in Israel was made that much tougher for Sakhnin by the fact that seven of its players were detained and questioned at Ben-Gurion Airport on Wednesday on suspicion that they had attempted to steal perfume from a duty free shop ahead of their flight to Spain. Police officers said further questioning will be awaiting the Sakhnin players when they return home on Sunday. Sakhnin put up a fighting performance on Saturday, but Juan Carlos Valeron scored the only goal of the encounter in the 40th minute and ensured the hosts would be the ones to advance to the second qualifying round of the UEFA Cup. Sakhnin coach Freddy David spoke ahead of the match of his team's need for an early goal, but it was Deportivo which had three excellent chances within the first 10 minutes. Two minutes into the encounter, defender Alberto Lopo found space in the visitors' box and was only denied the opener by a lunging tackle. Six minutes later, Angel Lafita's pass lacked a finishing touch and in the 10th minute Juan Rodríguez Villanueva's header was kept out by the crossbar. Sakhnin struggled to create chances throughout the match, but in the 12th minute it had its chance to turn the tie around. Yaniv Luzon lost his defender and should have done better with the ball at his favorite left foot, releasing a poor shot from the center of the box. Sakhnin wouldn't get a better chance during the match and five minutes before the interval La Coruna took the lead. Riki raced down the left flank and crossed the ball for Valeron, who had no trouble tapping in the opener in front of an empty goal. A Deportivo legend, Valeron missed most of the last two seasons, making just seven appearances in the side's last two campaigns. Saturday's goal was his first since the 2005/06 season and delighted the local fans. In the 42nd minute Valeron could have rendered the second half meaningless, but his right-footed effort was well saved by young goalkeeper Omri Alon. Deportivo wouldn't rue Valeron's miss as Sakhnin remained on the back foot for most of the second half and the hosts cruised to the victory.