Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Dinamo Brest to book their place in the Champions League Playoff Round where they will meet Salzburg in a two legged tie for a ticket to the group stages of Europe’s top club competition. Dan Bitton scored the lone goal of the game when the newcomer converted a second half penalty to help the yellow-and-blue book their place in at least the Europa League group stages should they not find a way past the Austrian champions.
Maccabi Tel Aviv hosted Dinamo Brest in UEFA Champions League Third Round Qualifying action at Bloomfield Stadium as both teams had much at stake with at least a guaranteed ticket to the Europa League group stages on the line with a win.
Yellow-and-blue Head Coach Giorgos Donis made a number of changes to his starting lineup as the Greek bench boss employed a 5-3-2 formation in front of keeper Daniel Tenenbaum. Itay Shechter and Dan Bitton began up front while Eyal Golasa, Dan Glazer and Dor Peretz manned the midfield. Ofir Davidzada and Maor Kandil were the two wingbacks and Enric Saborit, Sheran Yeini and Eitan Tibi anchored the defense as the three center backs. Maccabi also came into the game after a rough domestic league start to the season after having taken only one point in two matches.
Siarhei Kavalchuk’s Dinamo Brest looked to rely on an attacking trio of Abdoulaye Diallo, Mikhail Gordelchuk and Artem Milevskiy as they will try to play better than their Belarus league record indicates as they sit in 9th place after 21 games.
Maccabi controlled the pace early as Itay Shechter had a marvelous chance when he took a terrific Sheran Yeini pass, but his attempt just skipped by the far post while Eyal Golasa skied his chance over the goal in the 4th minute. Dor Peretz tried his luck from long distance but Sergei Ignatovich made the alert stop in the 18th minute as the contest remained goalless.
Dan Bitton sent a sharp corner into the box but Eitan Tibi was unable to direct the ball towards the goal in the 35th minute while Maor Kandil was booked with a yellow card for a reckless tackle on Diallo seven minutes later as the first half ended deadlocked at 0-0.
Brest had the first chance of the second half when Pavel Sedko’s ball went out but minutes later Peretz was pulled down by Gaby Kiki in the box during a corner kick which resulted in a penalty that Bitton converted from the spot as Maccabi took a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute.
Donis made his first substitution of the clash when he replaced Itay Shechter with Nick Blackman in the 56th minute while Peretz had another great opportunity from the left side of the box but the keeper once again was up to the task five minutes later.
The yellow-and-blue brought on Avi Rikan in place of Golasa in the 65th minute and ten minutes later the hosts had a trio of chances to double the advantage but couldn’t find the back of the goal. Bitton delivered a brilliant corner but Saborit’s header just missed the target, Davidzada’s sitter off a Kandil cross wildly flew over the bar and Rikan’s shot also came up short as Maccabi continued to lead 1-0.
Blackman had a pair of chances in the 81st minute while a minute later Maccabi made their final substitution as Yonatan Cohen entered the fray in place of Bitton. Davdizada’s chance was way off target four minutes later while Rikan picked up a yellow card as the match entered into injury time. The visitors looked for the equalizer but Maccabi was able to keep Brest at bay as they advanced to the Champions League playoffs where they will face Austrian powerhouse Salzburg in a two legged tie beginning next week.