Maccabi Tel Aviv opened up their Europa Conference League campaign on the right foot with a 3-2 win over Breidablik at Bloomfield Stadium. The yellow-and-blue scored early and often to take a 3-0 lead, but the Icelandic squad came back to cut the lead to just a lone goal by the 55th minute but that was as close as the visitors would get.
Yvan Macon gave Robbie Keane’s team a 1-0 advantage by the 11th minute while less than a quarter hour later, Eran Zahavi doubled the lead with a left footed strike. Dan Bitton added a third goal in the 33rd minute but Kloemint Olsen pulled one back right before the break. The same Olsen would score ten minutes into the second half to cut the score to just 3-2 but that would be it as Maccabi made sure to keep Breidablik at bay to take the 3-points.
“We began well, scored three goals and the guys felt a bit too comfortable,” Keene explained. “The goal that they scored just before the half gave them energy. I wasn’t happy with the second half. The most important thing was that we took the 3-points and we knew that there would be no easy games. We gave up foolish goals that we should never concede. It was important that we won after a draw in the league.”
Dor Peretz also spoke about the win, “It’s a good feeling to begin with 3-points but with that we can’t make it more difficult for ourselves than it should be. We took our foot off the gas in the 40th minute and that’s not us in any way shape or form.”
Maccabi Haifa were outclassed 3-0 by Rennes in a game that went the wrong way right from the get go. The Greens opened up their UEFA Europa League campaign in France and fell behind less than a minute into the contest when Ludovic Blas took a Matic ball and sent it behind Itamar Nitzan from 25 meters out for a quick 1-0 lead. Things went from bad to worse for Messay Dego and his squad as Adrien Truffert doubled the advantage a half hour later while Bertug Yildirim headed home a corner in the 55th minute to cruise to the 3-0 victory.
“We prepared for this game and we knew that we were going to face a very strong opponent on the road,” Dego said. “We gave up a goal in the first minute and that complicated our plans and also hurt our confidence while helping theirs. This was a very poor game by us and I hope that we will be able to get right back to it when we oaky our next league game against Sakhnin.”