The Yellow-and-Blue came up short in the Ukraine on Matchday Six of the Champions League. With experience gained, sights will be set for next year’s European campaign
Maccabi Tel Aviv played their final Champions League group stage match of the season in the Ukraine against Dynamo Kiev at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium behind closed doors. In a spirited affair, Maccabi gave up an early goal to Denys Garmash in the 16th minute and searched for the equalizer throughout the match but couldn’t find one as they fell to the Ukrainian side 1:0.
For the last match of this season’s European campaign Head Coach Slavisa Jokanovic went with a starting XI that had a few ripples in it from prior games. In front of Serbian keeper Predrag Rajkovic was a defensive quartet of Omri Ben Harush, Eitan Tibi, Carlos Garcia and Eli Dasa. Manning the midfield was veteran Gal Alberman, Nosa Igiebor and Avi Rikan with an offensive trio of Dor Micha, Tal Ben Chaim and captain Eran Zahavi.
After a slow start, Dynamo Kiev began controlling the flow of the game and in the 12th minute Andriy Yarmolenko’s nifty pass to Junior Moraes was smartly saved by Maccabj keeper Rajkovic and pushed out for a corner kick. Four minutes later, the Ukrainians would find their way onto the scoresheet when Denys Garmash pounced on a rebounded save by Rajkovic and slammed the ball high into the goal for a 1:0 lead. Ben Chaim had deflected a Serhiy Rybalka free kick that Rajkovic was somehow able to keep out of the goal but Garmash beat Tibi to the rebound to score.
Just prior to the goal, Yarmelenko had gotten tangled up with Rikan and was substituted out of the match and replaced by Oleg Gusev. The veteran striker Gusev had scored a brace against Maccabi in 2011 Europa League action when the sides fought to a 3:3 draw in Kiev.
After another Rybalka chance Maccabi had their first opportunity of the match in the 27th minute when Rikan sent a ball to Micha in the box but the midfielder missed Oleksandr Shovkovskiy’s goal to keep the score as is. As the match hit the 38th minute Micha found Dasa in the box but couldn’t control his attempt that went wildly over the goal. As Maccabi continued to pick up the pace, Zahavi struck an incredibly accurate free kick just to the left of the goal that Shovkovskiy had to make an alert save to keep his clean sheet intact as the sides headed into halftime.
The second half started with no changes to either lineup as Maccabi looked to find a goal and draw even. In the 48th minute the dangerous Rybalka sent another free kick into the Maccabi box from the left side but Garmash’s header went wide of Rajkovic’s goal. Two minutes later Dor Micha’s long distance shot from 17 meters was saved by Shovkovskiy and in the 62nd minute Zahavi’s effort went over the bar to keep the score 1:0 in favor of the hosts.
Jokanovic made a double substitution in the 72nd minute bringing in Gili Vermouth and Dor Peretz for Micha and Igiebor and then introduced Barak Itzhaki in the 83rd minute in search of the equalizer. However, the tying goal was not to be found as Maccabi Tel Aviv will have to wait for next summer to try their European luck again.