1) Maccabi Tel Aviv advanced to the third round of Europa League qualifying action as they drew 2:2 at Radnicki giving them a 4:2 aggregate victory over the two legged tie. An own goal by Radovan Pankov and an Eliran Atar marker gave the Yellow & Blue their goals while Aleksandar Stanisavljević scored a brace for the host’s. Next up for Maccabi will be the first leg of the third round against Pyunik from Armenia on Tuesday August 7th in Yerevan. Head Coach Vladimir Ivic said following the match, “It wasn’t easy. But we advanced to the next round. We scored two goals and created a few chances. But they also scored two goals and they are not at the same level as us. We lost concentration during some parts of the game and that isn’t good. We will be ready for the match against Pyunik.” Maccabi will be seeded in the Playoff Round draw but will need to advance out of the third round to reach that stage of the competition.
Hapoel Haifa moved on to the third round as well after defeating FH 1:0 thanks to a second half Eli Elbaz goal and brilliant goalkeeping by Ernestas Setkus in Iceland as they advance on a 2:1 aggregate score. The Carmel Reds will now ready themselves for a date with Atalanta on Thursday August 9th in Israel.
2) Willi Ruttensteiner addressed the media for the first time since becoming the Israel Football Association’s Technical Director and spoke about his plans for the upcoming, “It’s a huge honor for me to be a partner in this wonderful project and it’s an honor to be the technical director for the national team of this beautiful country. It’s a big challenge to move up in the FIFA rankings over the the next few years. We can’t be Spain, Italy or English but we can improve the football here.”
The Austrian continued, “The technical director is the person who is reasonable for the development of the football in the country and it’s a great responsibility. I am 100% sure I can do this. Let’s work together for our country, national team and the youth. I want to develop a unique philosophy for the National Team and not replicate or copy it but something specific for Israel.”
About the appointment of the National Team Head Coach Andi Herzog, “I think it was a good choice to appoint Andi Herzog, aa great player at Werder Bremen and had great experience as a player and one of the best experienced talented coaches with national teams. He was an assistant which is different than being a head coach but he is well prepared and I will stand beside him.”
Quick Hits – Stu Douglass signs with Hapoel Tel Aviv after spending two seasons with Nahariya…Forward Landon Milbourne joins Maccabi Ashdod after playing in Italy last season and with Eilat in 2016/17…JayVaughn Pinkston signs with Hapoel Holon BC…Winger Tal Ben Chaim tore the cruciate ligament in his right knee on Sunday and will be out 6-8 months…