Maccabi Tel Aviv were eliminated from Champions League play after succumbing to FC Salzburg 3-1 in the second leg of their playoff tie (5-2 on aggregate in the two games) at Red Bull Arena in Austria. The yellow-and-blue will enter the Europa League for the first time since the 2017/18 campaign and will find out their three opponents at the group stage draw slated to take place on Friday.
Salzburg dominated play early with the first of two Patson Daka goals, but an Eden Kartzev scorcher gave Maccabi hope later on in the first half. However, a Dominik Szoboszlai penalty at the stroke of halftime and Daka’s second half header sent the Austrians into the Champions League as Maccabi settled for the the continent’s second best competition.
Maccabi Tel Aviv came into the game down 2-1 after falling to Salzburg last week at Bloomfield Stadium and were without 11 regular squad players due to being infected with the coronavirus. However, Girgios Donis still had plenty of firepower as the Greek tactician looked to overcome the one goal deficit and book his teams spot in the Champions League group stages.
Itay Shechter, Eylon Almog and Dan Bitton started up front, Eyal Golasa and Eden Kartzev manned the midfield, Eitan Tibi, captain Sheran Yeini and Ben Bitton were the central defenders, Ofir Davidzada and Maor Kandil were the defensive backs while Daniel Tenenbaum was in goal.
Enock Mwepu had the Salzburg’s first chance of the game but Maccabi keeper Daniel Tenenbaum was in place to make the save in the 3rd minute however that wouldn’t be the case almost a quarter hour later. Patson Daka pounced on a ball right in the Maccabi box and sent a strong shot by the right of Tenenbaum to give the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute.
Dominik Szoboszlai’s corner went straight to Mwepu but his header missed the target in the 20th minute while Sekou Koita’s chance was blocked five minutes later. However, just as Salzburg looked to have taken control of the match, Eden Kartzev’s blasted a thunderous second effort by Cican Stanković to draw Maccabi even at 1-1 in the 30th minute.
Koita and Szoboszlai’s chances soon thereafter were both taken care of by Tenenbaum to keep the score as is. But just before the halftime whistle, Masaya Okugawa was fouled by Matan Baktaxa in the box as Salzburg were issued a penalty which Szoboszlai converted to give Salzburg a 2-1 lead as Donis was ejected for arguing with the referee.
Maccabi opened the second half looking to score a pair of goals in order to advance to the groups stages as Eylon Almog tried his luck in the 52nd minute while Dan Bitton’s terrific effort four minutes later missed the goal by inches.
The yellow-and-blue brought on Matan Hozez in place of Ben Bitton to add some firepower up front but, Salzburg took advantage of the situation as Daka scored a clean header from right in front of the goal to give Jesse Marsch’s club a 3-1 lead in the 69th minute.
Amit Glazer entered the fray replacing Maor Kandil while Ronen Hansis came in for Eylon Almog as the team’s final two substitutes of the clash. The two sides played out the balance of the game primarily in the midfield as Salzburg took the victory and the advanced to the Champions League while Maccabi settled for the Europa League group stages, returning to Europe for the first time since the 2017/18 season.