Maccabi playing the game of pain
Tel Aviv boss claims ban is taking its toll on his stars after latest Champions League win
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.
Eran Zahavi celebrates