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Ben Chaim & Zahavi post match reactions from Kiev

The Maccabi Tel Aviv captain and winger summed up the European experience after finishing the Champions League Group Stages while maintaining first place in the Israeli league

Courtesy Maccabi Tel Aviv

The Yellow-and-Blue fell to Dynamo Kiev in the Ukraine 1:0 on the final Matchday of the Champions League group stages. One of Maccabi’s veteran offensive threats Tal Ben Chaim along with captain Eran Zahavi spoke about going back to playing in the domestic WINNER League, the tournament itself and looked ahead to European campaigns in the future:

“For most of the players on the team, this was there first time that they ever played in the Champions League. We have to remember that we advanced to play in the top European competition which in itself was a massive accomplishment. But of course we are disappointed that we didn’t win a match and didn’t take any points. However, if we can continue to make it to the Champions League every season and not just play in the tournament once in every ten years the club will continue to improve and make this a yearly occurrence.”

On not scoring many goals in Europe this season:

“Scoring a goal or not scoring a goal doesn’t really make a difference because if you lose you lose. It doesn’t really bother me what others may say, but at the end of the day we didn’t take one point this year and as footballers and competitors we are disappointed.”

Heading back to the domestic league:

“For sure going back to one game a week and not playing in Europe will help us, but it wasn’t really a problem and we handled it well the last number of months. We ended the first round of matches in first place neck and neck with Hapoel Beer Sheva. We have a deep squad and now that we’ll be playing in one competition that should only make us even stronger in Israel.”

Captain Eran Zahavi also summed up the campaign and looked ahead to the Israeli League:

“Our group was very tight and tough and it was going to be hard to take any points. We have to take the good things from the campaign and there were some very good things that we did do by just advancing to the tournament. We need to make it into the Champions League year after year after year in order to keep improving at this level.”

On today’s match:

“Today I was most disappointed wth the match that we played as we had very few chances compared to other games. But again, I’m very happy and very proud that we made it into this competition.”

Returning to playing in the Israeli league:

“It should be easier as we will have less games to play during the week and less pressure. But we’re in first place and we can make a move now to be even more dominant.”

The upcoming January transfer window:

“January may be coming, but I’m here I am happy to be here. It’s fun to be with Maccabi Tel Aviv and we will keep working hard to improve for the rest of the season.”