Soccer: Betar Jerusalem's European dream ended

Draws 1-1 after extra time against Danish side FC Copenhagen, losing Champions League second qualifying round tie 2-1 on aggregate.

jp.services2 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
Despite a spirited effort, Betar Jerusalem was knocked out of Europe by Danish side FC Copenhagen at Teddy Stadium on Tuesday night, losing its Champions League second qualifying round tie 2-1 on aggregate after drawing 1-1 over 120 minutes in the second leg. Betar was winning 1-0 after 90 minutes through a 59th minute Barak Itzhaki goal, but this was only enough to send the game into extra time after having lost by the same score line in the first leg in Copenhagen last week. Marcus Allback's goal early in the first half of extra time gave the visitors a 2-1 aggregate lead and put the tie all but out of reach for the hosts. The game started at a frantic pace in a heated atmosphere, with Betar pushing forward looking for the goal which would bring the tie to 1-1. Although there was constant pressure from the home team it failed to produce any real scoring chances and after the first 10 minutes the game settled into a midfield battle with both defenses holding strong. Copenhagen's former Chelsea player Jesper Gronkjaer looked tricky in the center of midfield but was kept at bay by Betar's Gal Alberman. Betar's left back Yoav Ziv was the Jerusalem side's most dangerous attacking player, continuously pushing forward and spreading the ball. The first shot on goal came after 13 minutes when Copenhagen's Brede Hangeland received the ball in the penalty area and laid it off to Michael Silbberbauer but his shot from far out floated well over the Betar goal. A minute later Rasmus Wurtz had another long range effort but it went left of Betar goalkeeper Tvrtko Kale's right hand post. Shimon Gershon then received the first yellow card of the game for a foul on Wurtz. Betar's first effort came from Alberman who appeared to take the game on for himself in the 19th minute, dribbling round half the Copenhagen defense before unleashing a powerful shot which was well held by Copenhagen goalkeeper Jesper Christiansen. Michael Zandberg missed an opportunity to give Betar the lead ten minutes before half time when he leapt in the six yard box but failed to connect to a cross from right back Cristian Alvarez. Immediately after, Brazilian striker Romulo missed another chance when Barak Itzhaki put the ball in from the right hand side. Chilean Milovan Mirosevic, who had come in to the side for Derek Boateng, who was suspended after being sent off in the first leg last week, had a weak first half and was substituted at half time with Aviram Bruchian coming on in his place. Buoyed by a passionate crowd, Betar again piled on the pressure at the start of the second half. After Alberman was fouled on the edge of the penalty area Idan Tal forced the first real save by Christiansen 13 minutes into the second period with a fierce free kick but the Copenhagen 'keeper managed to dive to his left and keep the ball out. The effort raised the tempo and a minute later the hosts were 1-0 up. A fabulous pass by Idan Tal sent in Alvarez on the right who pushed into the penalty area and passed to Itzhaki to slot home on the hour mark. Betar coach Itzhak Schum immediately took off the ineffective Romulo, replacing him with fan favorite Toto Tamuz who nearly made it 2-0 on 65 minutes with a powerful half volley from 15 meters out. Gronkjaer then had a good effort denied by Kale who saved with his feet from close range. But the tide was with Betar and the chances kept on coming for the Israeli side. With a quarter of an hour to go Tamuz appeared to have scored from a Ziv cross but the goal was rightly ruled offside. Tamuz then came achingly close with half volley which Christiansen tipped over the bar. Five minutes before the end of the 90 minutes Zandberg was left one on one with Christiansen after a superb pass from Itzhaki but his weak effort was saved by the goalkeeper. And from the resulting corner Zandberg headed wide. There were no more chances and the game went into extra time. Tamuz should have scored five minutes into the first period of extra time from a pass from Itzhaki but he pushed the ball wide. A minute later Copenhagen got the goal it had been looking for. Gronkjaer put in a pinpoint cross from the right which evaded Kale and the Betar defense and former Aston Villa striker Allback sent the ball into the net leaving Betar needing two goals to progress, a feat it never achieved