Mac­cabi play­ing the game of pain

Tel Aviv boss claims ban is tak­ing its toll on his stars after lat­est Cham­pi­ons League win

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT - BY SI­MON GRIVER

FOOT­BALL Os­car Gar­cia ad­mits his play­ers are strug­gling to fo­cus on foot­ball as Mac­cabi Tel Aviv moved into the third qual­i­fy­ing round of the Cham­pi­ons League with a 3-0 ag­gre­gate win over Santa Coloma.

Lead­ing 1-0 from the first leg in An­dorra, Eran Za­havi gave Mac­cabi a two-goal cush­ion in their ‘home’ leg which was moved to Cyprus due to the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in Is­rael.

Tal Ben Haim added the sec­ond with a break­away goal in the 90th minute of match both teams fin­ished with 10 men - Mac­cabi’s Barak Badash re­ceived a straight red in the 78th minute for a late chal­lenge and Santa Coloma’s Al­bert Ma­cade was dis­missed three min­utes later for a sec­ond yel­low card.

Gar­cia said: “It’s dif­fi­cult to fo­cus on foot­ball and I un­der­stand how tense the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion is mak- ing all the play­ers.

“We’ve still got a lot to im­prove. I’m not yet think­ing about qual­i­fy­ing for the group stage as we have enough t o w o r r y a b o u t with just get­ting past the next round.”

The Is­raeli cham­pio n s wi l l t r avel t o e i t h e r M a r i b o r o r Z r i n - jski in the third qual­i­fy­ing round next week.

Hapoel Tel Aviv and Hapoel Be’er Sheva suf­fered de­feats in the first legs of their re­spec­tive Europa League sec­ond qual­i­fy­ing round matches. Tel Aviv went down 3-0 against FC As­tana of Kaza­khstan, but Maor Buza­glo’s a way g o a l g a v e Be’er Sheva hope in a 2-1 de­feat at RNK Split. I s r a e l ’ s c h a l - l e n g e a t t h e E u r o p e a n u n d e r - 1 9 C h a m p i - on­ships ended be­fore the com­ple­tion of the group stages fol­low­ing re­spec­tive 3-0 de­feats against Por­tu­gal and Aus­tria. They play their fi­nal match against hosts Hun­gary to­day.

PHOTO:AP

Eran Za­havi cel­e­brates

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