Successful night football for Israeli clubs in Conference League qualifying

Jul 21, 2022 | Football

It was a successful night for Israeli football clubs as both Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Beer Sheva won their UEFA Conference League second round first leg qualifiers while Maccabi Netanya drew 1-1 in Turkey as the trio of clubs will look to advance to the third round next week.

Maccabi Tel Aviv blanked Zira 3-0 in Azerbaijan to get their continental campaign off to a good start as Djordje Jovanovic scored a brace to give the Yellow & Blue a comfortable lead heading into the return leg back in Israel next week. Gaby Kanichowsky took a Brandley Kuwas ball and opened the scoring with a low liner that beat Mekhti Dzhenetov to give Vladen Ivic’s squad a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute. Jovanovic doubled the advantage less than five minutes later when he redirected an Eyal Golasa cross in the box and completed his brace early on in the second half when he slammed home a chance from in close to take the away victory.

“I can’t say that we played perfect football match but we came here to win the game and that i what we did,” Ivic stated. “This was our first official game in Europe after a month of preparation. We did what we needed to in order to get the team ready for this game and while we may not be playing at a high level, what’s important to me is that we worked hard from the first moment all the way until the end and that is what gave us the victory.”

Gaby Kanichowsky who opened the goal scoring said, “We want to finish this first challenge next week. The weather wasn’t simple and we had to play in heavy winds but I am happy that we were able to score three goals and do what we needed to. I hope that the fans will come out next week and cheer us own because we need them. They are our backbone and I am counting on them to come to the stadium.”

Hapoel Beer Sheva got by Dinamo Minsk 2-1 at Turner stadium in the southern capital as they will now head to Belarus for the second leg of their qualifying tie. Sagiv Yehezkel scored a quick goal as he latched onto a Eugene Ansah ball to give Elyaniv Barda’s squad a 1-0 lead just 44 seconds into the game. Rotem Hatuel gave the hosts a 2-0 lead when he nodded home a Tomer Yosefi ball but Artem Kontsevoi pulled a back a late goal for Minsk to head into the second game with a chance to overcome the deficit.

“We could have made a significant step but one can’t forget that this was the first official European game against a team that did’t make our lives easy,” head coach Barda commented. “We gave up a goal after we were comfortably in the lead, but we won an important European game and we want to win the next game as well. I always want to play here in Turner as the fans contribute and will help us. Next game there won’t be any fans and it won’t be a walk in the park as it will be a very tough game and we haver to be as ready as possible.”

Maccabi Netanya and İstanbul Başakşehir played to a 1-1 draw as the Turkish squad was out-played for the most part of the game. Gil Itzhak received a fantastic pass from Patrick Twumasi to head home the opening goal for Benny Lam’s team in the first minute while Patryk Szysz leveled the score in the 82nd minute for the hosts as the tie will be settled next week in Netanya.

“We began the game really well and we pressed along with not allowing them to find a way into the game,” Lam commented. “Today this was the case for the first half. Also take int account that the return leg will be held in a jammed packed stadium.”

Twumasi who orchestrated the Netanya goal spoke about the game that was, “I believe that Başakşehir is a good team. If I was able to compare the game that was rot the period of time that I was in Başakşehir, one can see that they are a very strong team especially as to how they control and hold onto the ball.”

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