Champions League debutantes Hapoel Beersheva are one step away from reaching next season’s Champions League after they claimed one of their best ever results by knocking out Greek side Olympiakos.
Having claimed a 0-0 draw in last week’s first leg in Athens, Shir Tzedek’s 79th minute winner ensured a famous 1-0 win at Turne Stadium.
The Israelis started brightly, with Maor Melikson bringing out a fine stop from Olympiacos goalkeeper Stefanos Kapino. While the Greeks enjoyed the majority of possession for the remainder of the half, Dudu Goresh in the home goal was barely called into action.
The hosts should have opened the scoring just shy of the hour mark when a powerful run by Anthony Nwakaeme resulted in him being denied by Kapino, but that was one of only a handful of chances created from both sides.
However, just as it seemed the tie may go to extra-time, Tzedek, who had missed the three preceding European ties through injury, fired into the bottom right corner from the edge of the box, and despite having to weather late pressure from the visitors, Beersheva held on meaning Olympiakos failed to reach the group stage of the competition for the first time since the 2010/11 season.
Beersheva will find out on Friday who they’ll face in the play-offs, as they bid to become Israel’s sixth team to participate in the group stages of the competition, with the first leg set to take place on 16/17 August. Should they fail to win that tie, they will still compete in the group stages of the Europa League.