Hapoel Be’erSheva’s hopes of reaching the last 16 of the Europa League were ruthlessly ended after they fell to a 2-1 second leg defeat in Istanbul – and an overall 5-1 loss.
Barak Bachar’s side had enjoyed an historic European campaign, which saw them beat Greek side Olympiacos in the Champions League qualifiers back in July, and only missed out on reaching the group stages of the competition when missing a penalty against Celtic in the final qualifier. They then finished second in their Europa League group, finishing ahead of both Southampton and Inter Milan, but their two-legged clash against Besiktas proved a step too far. the came to an end in Istanbul on Thursday night.
Having lost the first leg 3-1 in Israel, they needed to score at least three goals to progress, though never in truth came close to overturning what was a might ask. Vincent Aboubakar fired the Turks ahead in the 17th minute, and although Nigerian forward Anthony Nwakaeme equalised for Be-erSheva in the 64th minute – meaning they still needed two goals to take the tie in extra-time – Cenk Tosun put the result beyond doubt when he scored the host’s second of the evening three minutes from time.
Bachar said afterwards: “We experienced a wonderful journey which began last July and ended today. We competed in every match and showed that anything is possible. In virtually every game we faced teams that on paper were better and richer than us, but my players proved that they have an amazing character and showed that we are a very strong team of winners. I’m proud of every one of them. Now the real challenge will be to channel these energies as we move forward.”