MTA2

Picture: www.maccabi-tlv.co.il

Maccabi Tel Aviv suffered Europa League elimination on Thursday night after they were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by FC Basel.

Going into the second leg in Switzerland with all to play for, following a 0-0 draw in Israel last week, two headers from Marco Streller, coupled with Valentin Stocker’s strike, saw the Swiss side to a routine win.

Knocked out of a second competition by them this season – having been beaten in a Champions League qualifier back in July – speaking after the match, Maccabi coach Paulo Sousa said: “Our opponent was stronger than us,” there were periods in the first half when we had some chances and we could have equalised at the start of the second half. It was very hard to come back once we conceded the second goal.

“Every defeat has its effect, as does the absence of players like Itzhaki. But we need to focus on the solution and we will now concentrate on our league campaign in the hope that we can embark on a new winning streak when we face Hapoel Ra’anana on Sunday.”

Striker Rade Prica said: “We knew from the beginning that Basel were a very good team, a strong team – if you don’t take chances like we had in the second half to make it 1-1 … we have to score those chances to have any chance of winning.

“It was different to the first time we played them this season. It was hard for us to create big chances. They played both games, in Tel Aviv and here, with many defenders – it was very hard for us. Those chances were perhaps the turning point. It’s hard to say – you just have to score with those chances.

From the beginning, no one believed we would go through the group but we did and we made progress throughout the year. Now we can focus on the league and hopefully take new steps next season.

“You don’t get lots of chances at this level and it’s important to take the chances that you get.”