Hapoel Beer Sheva drew 1:1 at Kairat Almaty (3:1 aggregate) to advance to the third round of Europa League qualifying where they will play Norrköping from Sweden. The Southern Reds came into the contest with a two goal advantage after defeating the Kazakhstan side 2:0 in Israel last week. Rade Dugalić scored in 40the minute for Kairat to give the hosts hope but then lost Yeldos Akhmetov to second yellow card in the 55th minute reducing Kairat to ten men. Dugalić then scored an own goal in the 63rd minute when Jimmy Marin’s intended cross to Nigel Haselbaink went off of the central defender and into the goal to draw Barak Bachar’s squad even at 1:1 agive them an insurmountable lead as they closed out the two legged tie.
“From a professional point of view this wasn’t one of our best games and we are aware of that,” explained Bachar following the game. “But we got the result we needed and that’s what is most important.”
Maccabi Haifa defeated Strasbourg 2:1 but failed to advance to the third round of Europa League qualifying as the French side took the tie 3:4 on aggregate. Strasbourg stunned the home crowd early on in the 17th minute as Ludovic Ajorque took advantage of a Guy Haimov miscue to take a 1:0 lead. However, the Greens drew even 8 minutes later on a nice goal in the box by Yarden Shua.
With the fans going wild, Marko Balbul’s squad took a 2:1 lead in the 40th minute when Allyson Dos Santos sent a beauty of a ball over the Strasbourg defense to an awaiting Nikita Rukavytsa who slotted it home to bring the hosts to within one goal of their rivals. But the stingy Ligue 1 defense and their second choice keeper Kamara closed down the Haifa attack over the final 45 minutes to deny the Carmel side another round of continental play.
“We deserved more after these two matches,” said a disappointed Balbul after the game. “From the 16th minute on there was only one team on the pitch. We won this game but it was difficult for us to comeback from the first leg deficit. We gave up a goal but the players showed a lot of character and we pushed forward right until the end where we had two terrific opportunities. The guys gave a great game but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.”
Latavious Williams signed with Hapoel Holon. The C/F was selected by the Miami Heat in the 2010 draft and has many years of European experience.
Daequan Cook re-resigns with Nes Ziona for another season. This will be his third campaign with the club.
Gregory Vargas signed with Maccabi Haifa for his third term with the team while Yonatan Mor also joined the Greens.
Malcolm Griffin remains in Israel after ending last season with Hapoel Jerusalem as the guard signs with Hapoel Tel Aviv. Desi Rodriguez also put pen to paper with Reds as the Seton Hall product joins makes his first foray overseas.