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Maccabi Tel Aviv falls to Chelsea 4:0

Dov Halickman Photography

Maccabi Tel Aviv came up short against the English Champions at Sammy Ofer Stadium on Matchday Five of the Champions League Group Stages.

Chelsea visited Maccabi Tel Aviv at Sammy Ofer Stadium on Matchday Five of the Champions League Group Stages in front of 29,121 fans on a cool November evening. The Yellow-and-Blue were in search of their first points of the competition and wanted to avenge a 4:0 loss on Matchday One to the defending Premier League Champions in London at Stamford Bridge.

Yellow-and-Blue Head Coach Slavisa Jokanovic had a full squad available for the match and started the Serbian youngster Predrag Rajkovic in goal with a defense of Eli Dasa, Tal Ben Haim, Carlos Garcia and Omri Ben Harush. In the midfield the coach had veteran Gal Alberman, Dor Peretz and Nosa Igibeor just behind Avi Rikan, Tal Ben Chaim and captain Eran Zahavi.

Maccabi Tel Aviv fired the first warning shot with a 2nd minute Peretz header just going over the bar to keep the match scoreless early on. Dasa’s 5th minute effort was wide of the goal and gave Chelsea more reason for concern about the home side’s counterattacks going forward. However, Chelsea started controlling the tempo with runs into the Maccabi box that forced the Yellow-and-Blue back on its heels.

With the Chelsea pressure building, Maccabi gave up a 20th minute Willian corner kick that brilliantly met Gary Cahill’s head. His first opportunity was miraculously saved by Rajkovic but the second found the back of the goal to give The Blues a 1:0 away lead.

As a result of the goal, Maccabi began to press for the equalizer, but Ben Harush’s 35th minute long range chance went over the bar. When all seemed settled in the midfield, a late challenge on Diego Costa by veteran central defender Tal Ben Haim went awry and he was shown a straight red card in the 40th minute. The foul resulted in Maccabi going a man down for the balance of the match with Ben Haim being unavailable for the final Matchday in Kiev.

Coach Jokanovic made no substitutions to open the second half and moved Rikan to left back from the midfield with Ben Harush sliding over to his right to play as a central defender as things began to heat up on the pitch. Dasa had Maccabi’s first chance on goal in the 50th minute but Begovic was up to the challenge to maintain the slim lead.

Maccabi was desperately in search of the tying goal and Rajkovic made sure to keep the score as is with saves on excellent opportunities by Eden Hazard and Cesar Azpilicueta. On the other end of the pitch Begovic was up to the challenge and made a gorgeous fingertip save from a scorching Zahavi strike in the 63rd minute.

Just ten minutes later Chelsea doubled the score on a Willian free kick from the top of the box and added its third of the evening in the 77th minute with Oscar finishing off a Baba Rahman cross. Kurt Zouma put the final stamp on the match for Chelsea as his header off an Oscar corner kick found it’s way past Rajkovic ending Maccabi’s home Champions League campaign with a 4:0 defeat.