Maccabi Tel Aviv visited AZ Alkmaar on Matchday Three of the Europa League Group Stages at the AFAS Stadium where the Yellow & Blue picked up their first points of the competition
Oscar Scarione found the back of the Alkmaar goal in the first half while Eyal Golasa’s late match scorcher sealed the victory helping Maccabi Tel Aviv to its first Europa League Group Stage points. Robert Muhren drew AZ even in the 72nd minute but Golasa’s 82nd minute strike decided the contest.
Head Coach Shota Arveladze’s Starting XI included Serbian keeper Predrag Rajikovic in goal with a back four of Eli Dasa, Eitan Tibi, Tal Ben Haim and Omri Ben Harush in front of him. Captain Gal Alberman was the defensive midfielder with Haris Medunjanin and Eyal Golasa beside him. Oscar Scarione, Tal Ben Chaim and Iceland striker Vidar Kjartansson played up front.
Second choice keeper Daniel Lifshitz along with Dor Micha, Egor Filipenka, Nosa Igiebor, Yossi Benayoun, Barak Itzhaki and Yuval Shpungin were all available on the bench.
With the match getting underway in Holland, the hosts looked to be on the board first as Derrick Luckassen hit the bar off of Illias Bel Hassani corner in the 4th minute while Scarione’s shot one minute later was blocked by the AZ defense. Rajikovic was called upon ten minutes later to make a fist save off of Bel Hassani hard effort to keep the match goalless early on.
However, it wasn’t goalless for much longer as Oscar Scarione found the back of the goal in the 24th minute to give Maccabi a 1:0 lead. Medunjanin sent the Argentinian a deep ball and he half volleyed it behind the Alkmaar keeper for the one goal advantage.
Ben Harush was issued a yellow card in the 35th minute as the score held up as is for the balance of the half with Maccabi taking a 1:0 lead into the break.
With Maccabi looking to double the score, it was AZ with the second half’s first chance as Bel Hassani’s 52nd minute effort was blocked. Just minutes after both Medunjanin and Tibi’s shots were also blocked, Ben Chaim’s ensuing corner kick came right to Kjartansson in the middle of the box but the Icelander’s scorcher was brilliantly saved by Sergio Rochet to keep the ball out of the goal.
Medunjanin picked up a 67th minute yellow card while Coach Arveladze made his first substitution of the match in the 69th minute introducing Dor Micha in favor of Ben Chaim. However, the changes didn’t stop AZ from drawing even in the 72nd minute when Bel Hassani’s pinpoint cross found Robert Muhren who headed home the ball to pull the hosts into a 1:1 tie.
With Maccabi looking for a bit more offense and a chance to find a winner, Arveladze made his second sub bringing in Nosa Igiebor for Alberman in the 79th minute. And some offense he would find via Golasa in the 82nd minute.
The midfielder laced a long range screamer into the top corner of the Alkmaar goal to take a 2:1 lead late in the game. Two minutes later the Head Coach made his last move introducing Egor Filipenka for the first half goal scorer Scarione.
Bel Hassani would have a couple of more opportunities for Alkmaar but it was not enough for the hosts as Maccabi Tel Aviv came away with the valuable 2:1 win and their first Europa League Group Stage points thanks in part to goals by Oscar Scarione and Eyal Golasa.
Hapoel Beer Sheva 1:0 Sparta Prague
Beer Sheva dropped a close game at home falling 1:0 to Sparta Prague on a 2nd half goal by Matěj Pulkrab in the 71st minute to collect the three points and hand Beer Sheva their first loss at Toto-Turner Stadium in any competition.