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Haifa falls to Atalanta, Beer Sheva draws with APOEL in Europa League Qualifying

1) Atalanta defeated Hapoel Haifa 4:1 in first leg third round Europa League qualifying at Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa. Almog Buzaglo drew first blood heading in a Gabriel Tamas cross but two quick goals by Hans Hateboer and Duván Zapata gave the visitor’s the lead for good. Two second half substitutes Mario Pasalic and Musa Barrow added a pair of goals for Atalanta with the 2nd leg taking place next week in Italy. Head Coach Nir Klinger commented about the result, “We couldn’t have asked for a better start and on one hand it was great to have a lead but it forced us to defend very early on. I believe one of the issues is that we weren’t aggressive enough and when we stole the ball we pushed it forward nd then they were able to begin their attack again.”

2) Hapoel Beer Sheva and APOEL Nicosia drew 2:2 in the first leg of third round Europa League qualifying at Turner Stadium in a match that was only confirmed to go ahead a mere two hours before the opening whistle due to the rockets being fired into Israel from Hamas controlled Gaza. The visitor’s took a 2:0 lead on goals by Nuno Morais and Dellatorre, however, John Ogu and Tony Nwakaeme helped ensure that the 2nd leg next week in Cyprus will be a cracker. Head Coach Barak Bachar summed up the contest, “This wasn’t a good enough result but the fact that we came back from a deficit situation is something that we can take away from this match and we’ll have to score in the 2nd leg.”

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***Make sure to listen to this week’s Sports Rabbi Podcast for analysis of the Herzog hire and an exclusive interview with Deshaun Thomas***

Quick HitsEgor Koulechov signs with Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion after playing college all last season with Florida…Guard Yuval Naimi returns to Israel with Maccabi Rechovot after playing in Italy…Central Defender Jorge Morcillo signed with Kiryat Shemona after playing the last 3 seasons with Almeria…