HTA

Picture: Hapoel Tel Aviv FC

Hapoel Tel Aviv have a mountain to climb if they’re to reach the third qualifying round of this season’s Europa League after they suffered a 3-0 defeat in Kazakhstan on Thursday afternoon.

Up against FC Astana, the Israelis, who have made the group stages of the competition in four of the last five years, got off to the worst possible start with just 14 minutes on the clock when Kobi Degani saw red, Roger Cañas converted the resulting penalty and the Israelis found themselves up against it

Despite being a man and goal down, Hapoel still gave a good account of themselves, though it wasn’t enough to prevent them going 2-0 down just shy of the hour mark when Tanat Nusserbayev doubled the home side’s advantage.

Astana put the icing on the cake when Abzal Beysebekov completed the scoring twenty minutes from time.

The second leg, which was due to be played in Israel next week, is more than likely going to have to be played at a neutral venue after UEFA banned Israel from hosting any European club countries due to the current security situation in the region.

Later on Thursday, Hapoel Beer Sheva lost 2-1 to RNK Split in Croatia.