Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Suduva 3-0 in Champions League second round qualifying action in Lithuania and punched their ticket to the third round where they will face Dynamo Brest from Belarus at in Israel. Should Maccabi pass their test against Brest they will play a two-legged tie versus FC Salzburg with the first match being played in Tel Aviv for a trip to the Champions League Group Stages. If Maccabi defeat Brest and falls to Salzburg they will feature in the Europa League Group Stages.
The yellow-and-blue received a first half goal from Avi Rikan and a second half strikes from Nick Blackman and Ofir Davidzada to advance in the competition with their next continental game taking place in mid-September.
Looking to avenge last season’s double defeat to Suduva in Europa League qualifying play that bounced Maccabi Tel Aviv from continental competition, Giorgos Donis’s squad had a much different flavor than last year’s team. This season’s crew featured eight players in the starting lineup that did not open in Lithuania last campaign with a mixture of youngsters and veterans.
Avi Rikan and his yellow-and-blue teammates dominated play early as the midfielder tried to get the visitors on the board first but his attempt was taken care of by ‘keeper Ivan Kardum in the 9th minute.
However the Suduva shot blocker wasn’t as fortunate about twenty minutes later when the aforementioned Rikan had a trio of chances in front of the goal and put the third behind Kardum to give Maccabi Tel Aviv a 1-0 lead.
Maor Kandil was issued a yellow card in the 39th minute while Davidzada’s weak chance a minute later was collected by Kardum as the half ended with Maccabi in front by a goal.
Suduva had their fist attempt of the game in the 47th minute but Andro Švrljuga’s free kick skied over Daniel Tenenbaum’s goal while almost a quarter hour later Dan Bitton’s set piece also went over the bar as the score remained as is.
In the 65th minute Ofir Davidzada sent a perfect ball into the box, but Nick Blackman’s sharp header was parried by Kardum while Dor Peretz and Rikan also had opportunities to double the advantage but came up just short.
Nick Blackman continued his hot streak as he took a terrific Eitan Tibi pass and easily beat a helpless Kardum in the 73rd minute while Ofir Davidzada iced the victory in injury time for his first goal of the campaign to give Maccabi Tel Aviv a 3-0 win.