Maccabi Tel Aviv visited FC Porto at the Estadio Dragao on Matchday Three of the UEFA Champions League falling to the hosts 2:0. The Yellow-and-Blue had numerous opportunities with a late Zahavi free kick just being knocked away by Porto ‘keeper Casillas to preserve a 2:0 win by the hosts.
Head Coach Slavisa Jokanovic went with Predrag Rajkovic in goal and started Tal Ben Haim and Carlos Garcia as the central defenders while Omri Ben Harush was the left back and Eitan Tibi was on the right. Gal Alberman was flanked by Dor Peretz and Nikola Mitrovic in the midfield with a trio of Tal Ben Chaim, Dor Micha and Eran Zahavi up front for the Israeli champions.
Maccabi wearing their classic yellow-and-blue strip opened up strong and stood toe-toe-tow with the Portuguese giants wearing their traditional blue-and-white kit. Vincent Aboubakar was very active for Porto and had his first attempt on goal in the 12th minute which was saved by Rajkovic to keep the score deadlocked at 0:0. With an air of confidence, Maccabi continued to attack with a few chances by Zahavi and Peretz. However, it was Ben Chaim who had a magnificent opportunity when he was able to dribble right into the box and the ball was stated away sending him to the ground as the over 1500 Yellow-and-Blue fans whistled for a penalty that was not called by the referee.
In the 37th minute a Porto free kick resulted in the first goal of the game as Aboubakar headed the ball behind Rajkovic from a Miguel Layun free kick to make it 1:0. Just four minutes later the home side doubled the score with Yacine Brahimi scoring on a counter attack to give Porto a 2:0 lead as the teams headed into halftime.
Ten minutes into the second half Porto made a double substitution while Jokanovic replaced Mitrovic with Avi Rikan in the 56th minute to help jump start the Maccabi offense with his terrific 65th minute chance just sailing over the crossbar. Gili Vermouth was introduced in the 73rd minute to help the Yellow-and-Blue search for their first goal of the match with Barak Itzhaki joining him on the pitch 10 minutes later.
Captain Eran Zahavi would have a marvelous free kick just minutes later as Porto’s star ‘keeper Iker Casillas dove to his left and just got a hand on the ball to keep the score 2:0 in favor of Porto. Maccabi will host Porto at Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa on Champions League Matchday Four at on Wednesday November 4th.