Maccabi Tel Aviv took another step in their quest to continue their European growth advancing to the Europa League round of 32 defeating Bordeauxof France 1-0 at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv.
In true wintry European conditions both sides experienced a steady rainfall and blustery winds off the Mediterranean coast with a very slick pitch surrounded by over 12 thousand rabid Yellow & Blue fans.
Eran Zahavi played the part of hero scoring on a questionable penalty call to give Maccabi the slim 1-0 victory over a second string Bordeaux club. The French club left the players who had helped them win 1-0 over Lille in their domestic league last week at home knowing that the game against Maccabi was just a glorified exhibition match.
Paulo Sousa’s team looked like a well oiled machine over the course of the first half, dominating play with Mahran Radi, Gal Alberman and Zehavi controlling the midfield and giving Bordeaux very few chances to press forward. It was quite a surprise when the lineup sheets were handed out before the match seeing this troika together. But as we have seen so many times this season, the squad built by Jordi Kryuff has great flexibility and is capable of playing against any style of play thrown at them both domestically and in Europe.
Maccabi strikers Monas Dabour & Barak Yitzhaki had numerous chances throughout the match but couldn’t find the back of the net in the steady rain and freezing cold. But with Frankfurt winning against Nicosia and Maccabi taking the three points at home the Israeli side will wait until Monday to see who they will face in the next round.
But for now as coach Sousa said after the game, “the players should enjoy the moment as this is an important step for the team & franchise.” It certainly is and the challenges don’t let up with a derby against Hapoel Tel Aviv looming ahead on Monday, just after finding out whom they will play in their next Europa League match in February.