Maccabi Tel Aviv was stunned by Suduva falling 2:1 at the Netanya Stadium in their Europa League third round 1st leg qualifying match. The Lithuanian outfit took a 2:0 lead before Chico Ofoedu pulled back a goal for Head Coach Vladimir Ivic’s squad to give them a glimmer of hope before heading to the return leg next week.
The Yellow & Blue controlled the pace of play but Suduva’s Samir Kerla scored a 37th minute header off a perfect cross from the left side of the box by Ovidijus Verbickas for a 1:0 advantage. The visitor’s would double their lead in the 76th minute when substitute Eligijus Jankauskas headed home a Andro Švrljuga corner kick to silence the Maccabi faithful. Chico Ofoedu was able to give Ivic’s side hope ahead of the second leg with an 84th minute goal and cut the Suduva lead to 2:1 but that was all they could muster on a disappointing night of football.
“I don’t see that we are hungry and that is a problem,” Ivic explained following the match. “This was our worst game since I came here. But next week, if Suduva could score two goals here, why can’t we score two there. But we have a problem and we need to fix it.”
Hapoel Beer Sheva drew 1:1 at Norrkoping in their third round Europa League tilt and will head home with an away goal when the two sides meet once again at Toto-Turner Stadium. The Swedish side took the lead in thanks to Maic Sema’s strike in the 51st minute but Barak Bachar’s squad drew even just four minutes later when Eden Shamir scored via a header in the box off a smart pass from Ben Bitton.
“This was a very challenging and physical match,” began Bachar. “We tried to neutralize Norrkoping throughout the game. Next week we will need to play our game in front of our fans and we have to continue to do what we did in this game which was to give 100% effort.”
Bnei Yehuda surprised Neftci as they drew 2:2 in Baku in third found UEFA Europa League qualifying action. Yossi Abuksis’s squad scored the first two markers of the contest but a Neftci goal right before the halftime break and a second deep into second half injury time gave the host’s hope with the return leg taking place in Israel next Thursday.
Tambi Sagas gave Bnei Yehuda a 1:0 lead in the 26th minute as he finished off a nice team effort and out Mohammed Ghadir’s pass into the back of the goal. Ten minutes later it was Ghadir’s turn to score as he put the ball behind the Neftci keeper thanks to a give and go with Dor Jan. However, just before half-time Steven Joseph-Monrose scored to put the Azerbaijani side on the board while second half substitute Namik Alaskarov found the equalizer in the 96th minute.
Despite giving up a late goal, Abuksis was content with the result, “I’m proud of the squad. We finished the first half and now we have to prepare for the second half at the Moshava Stadium, but I am not going to talk about favorites going into this match. We will go into the match next week and give it our all to advance to the next stage.”