Well Maccabi Tel Aviv was able to calm all the critics as they handily beat Gyori ETO FC in Hungary 2-0 in the first leg of their two game series in the 2nd round of UEFA Champions League qualifying action Wednesday evening. Playing in Gyor, where auto maker Audi has a production plant, Maccabi dominated the Hungarian Champion coast to coast with 23 to 6 attempts on goal and gaining 10 more corners 13 to 3.
Barak Yitzhaki, back from his exile in Cyprus scored the first goal for Maccabi and played a tremendous match showing confidence and technique to the technical director Jordi Cryuff & manager Paulo Sousa whom knew they had to replace Eliran Atar’s 22 goals from last season. One can only hope that this is a good beginning for Yizthaki. The aforementioned Sousa put together an intelligent lineup and was able to make the correct substitutions in Dor Micha with a quarter hour remaining in the match. Micha was a game changer and assisted on both away goals. Once Dor came onto the pitch Maccabi seemed to have been given a new breath of life and the club’s fitness showed as they were able to play the full match and were rewarded by a 90th + minute goal by Gal Alberman. The Gyori ‘keeper Kamenar kept this game at only 2-0 as it could have been a much bigger victory for Maccabvi had it not been for some of his fine and lucky saves.
Mahran Radi, Rada Prica & Omri Altman did not seem to get into the match, with Prica missing a few opportunities and not getting into proper position a number of times. Radi looked a bit lost in the mid field and Omri Altman who had good speed and technique looked a bit green as this was his first match with the club. However, once Micha came on Radi seemed to have the life put back into him and had a number of chances and seemed to get into the game.
Maccabi’s defense made a couple of glaring errors but Gyori were unable to take advantage of an open header in the box that went wide and an errant shot that should have hit the back of the goal. That being said, all in all it was a well played match and one that can be a building block for the next round. That is as long as Maccabi can maintain the solid work that we have seen this far.
The Bottom Line:
Jordi Cryuff and Paulo Sousa seem to have made good strides in the offseason and Maccabe Tel Aviv looks to have picked up where they left off last year. They will however have to pick up another striker and defender if they want to go deeper in qualifying and possibly make a run to the group stages of the UEFA Champions League.