Having gained a credible 1-1 draw against Dinamo Moscow in last week’s first leg in Russia, the Israelis lost their ‘home’ leg 2-1, having been forced to stage the game in Nicosia, Cyprus, due to the security concerns in Israel, meaning they lost the third qualifying round tie 3-2 on aggregate.
Getting off to the perfect start when Roei Kehat’s headed in to put them 1-0 up after ten minutes, they couldn’t though consolidate their lead for long. Kevin Kuryani equalised from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute, before Aleksei Ionov put the Russians in control – to effectively wrap up the tie.
Coach Barak Bachar said: “We are very disappointed, we were equal to a top team.”
Their defeat means they follow in the footsteps of Hapoel Tel Aviv and Hapoel Beersheba, while Maccabi Tel Aviv were knocked out of the Champions League on Tuesday night, meaning this has been the worst showing by Israeli sides in European club football since the 2008/09 season.
Maccabi are though still involved in European competition as they dropped down into the Europa League play-offs. And following Friday’s draw in Nyon, the Israeli champions will face Greek side Asteras Tripolis FC. The first leg on 21 August will be played in Greece, with the second leg, a week later, set to once again be played, at a neutral venue.