1) Beer Sheva moves on in Champions League Qualifying
By: Doug Cahn
Beer Sheva advanced to the second round of Champions League qualifying after defeating Flora Tallinn a home, 3:1 (7:2 aggregate) and will face Dinamo Zagreb for a two legged tie in the second round.
The Southern Reds came into their Champions League first round 2nd leg home match qualifier against Flora Tallinn sporting a 4:1 away goal advantage thanks to last week’s win in Estonia. Head Coach Barak Bachar’s side made a number of changes to his lineup as Nigerian international John Ogu, along with Frenchman Julien Cetout and Greek keeper Giannis Anestis all made their 2018/19 debuts.
Beer Sheva dominated possession early on and took a 1:0 lead in the 15’ thanks to Hen Ezra’s strike off an Oren Bitton pass. Ten minutes later, Ezra almost added his 2nd tally of the game but his shot went off of the post. However, in the 27’ Hanan Maman headed in a Ben Sahar cross that gave the host’s a 2:0 advantage as the score held up until the break.
The second half began just as the first half had finished as captain Maor Melikson dipped home a 48’ feed from Ben Bitton for a 3:0 lead. Flora would pull a goal back in the 86’ by Rauno Alliku but Beer Sheva took the 7:2 aggregate victory and moved on to the second round f Champions League qualifying where they will take on Dinamo Zagreb. The first leg of their two legged tie will take place in Croatia on Tuesday July 24th at 21:00 Israel time at the Maksimir Stadium.
Head Coach Barak Bachar summed up the match and looked ahead to the second round of Champions League qualifying against Dinamo Zagreb, “The games ended in being easy because we were prepared. But next week will be a totally difrenet story against Zagreb where we will be playing in a very difficult stadium.”
Goal scorer Hen Ezra added, “I hope I’ll be able to score many more. I’ve been trying to adjust as best as I can since I’ve arrived and things are going well.”
2) Maccabi Tel Aviv signs Nigerian striker Chico Ofoedu. Chikeluba ‘Chico’ Ofoedu joined Maccabi Tel Aviv FC on a free transfer after the 25-year-old Nigerian forward successfully underwent a medical and signed a 2-year-deal at the Club. Ofoedu made his first footballing steps at Nigerian outfit Enugu Rangers IFC where he made his senior debut at the age of 18. In 2012 and at the age of 20, Ofeodu, moved to Turkey and joined Trabzonspor on loan for which he scored 8 goals in 33 appearances in all competitions. A switch to Karsiyaka the following season saw Ofoedu score 11 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions which led to a January switch to Samsunspor.
The Nigerian forward enjoyed a successful 18-month long spell at Samsuspor where he scored 21 goals in 49 appearances which earned himself another move to his fourth Turkish club. Ofoedu began the 2016/17 campaign at Eskisehirspor and in two seasons notched 19 goals in 58 appearances in all competitions.
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