Haifa, Beer Sheva, Maccabi Tel Aviv all in European & domestic action

Maccabi Haifa defeated NS Mura in Slovenia 3-2 to win their first round Europa League qualifying tie 5-2 and advance to face Strasbourg from France in the second round. Yuval Ashkenazi continued to find the back of the goal as the newly acquired midfielder added a brace in the win.

Mura forward Luka Bobičanec shocked Haifa in the 6th minute as his shot from the right side of the box went through the legs of Greens keeper Guy Haimov to give the hosts an early 1-0 lead. Muhammed Awad drew Haifa even in the 32nd minute as his left footed stunner went into the Mura goal while Yuval Ashkenazi scored his first of two just 3 minutes later to give Marko Balbul’s squad a 2-1 advantage. Ashkenazi completed his brace in the 76th minute while Mura pulled a goal back five minutes later as the game ended in a 3-2 Haifa victory. The Carmel Mountain squad will now begin the second round in France on Thursday night while the return leg will be the following Thursday at Sammy Ofer Stadium.

Hapoel Beer Sheva slipped by KF Laci from Albania 1-0 in their Europa League first round qualifying tie to advance to the second round where Kairat Almaty form Kazakstan await. Last week the southern Reds drew 1-1 away and took the two legged series 2-1 on aggregate. Naor Sabag scored in the 69th minute when he sent home a Jimmy Marin cross from the right side to send the hosts into the second round..

Maccabi Tel Aviv begin their Champions League qualifying campaign with a first leg second round contest at Cluj in Romania on Wednesday night. Ovidiu Hoban who once played for Hapoel Beer Sheva now plies his trade for Cluj which is coached by Dan Petrescu. The boss had an illustrious career as a player featuring for a number of top European clubs including Chelsea where he featured between 1995-2000. The Romanian outfit won their league title after a tight battle with Steaua București and won the championship by just two points.

On the domestic side, the yellow-and-blue defeated Bnei Yehuda 1-0 in the Super Cup which pits the previous season’s league champion and State Cup holder. American-Israeli Aaron Schoenfeld scored the lone goal of the contest in the 28th minute to help earn Maccabi Tel Aviv the first silverware of the 2019/20 campaign and move the club into the Toto Cup semifinal.

Hapoel Beer Sheva squeaked by Maccabi Haifa 1-0 to also advance to the semifinals of the Toto Cup on a penalty goal scored by Niv Zrihen. In fact, two southern side players were shown a red card midway through the second half but the Greens couldn’t capitalize on the numeric advantage.

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