MTASC

Picture: Maccabi Tel Aviv FC

Maccabi Tel Aviv booked their place into the third qualifying round of the Champions League after wrapping up a 3-0 aggregate win over Andorran side Santa Coloma.

Hosting the second leg in Larnaca, Cyprus, due to the current crisis in Israel, the Israelis came into the game on the back of a 1-0 first leg win in Andorra last week.

Eran Zahavi’s 62nd minute penalty all but sealed the tie, the players celebrating the goal with an Israel flag. The game was to end ten aside, Maccabi’s Barak Badash sent off for throwing a punch towards a Santa Coloma player, before Mercadé also saw red after picking up his second yellow card. Tal Ben-Haim completed the scoring in the 90th minute.

Speaking after the match, Maccabi coach Oscar Garcia said: “It’s difficult to play well at this stage of the season. It’s difficult to play against a team with 11 players behind the ball. It is even more difficult if you don’t score the chances you have. Maccabi has only played once in the Champions League group stage and it will be a big achievement for us to reach it again. We need to go game by game and be ready for the next game.”

They will face either Slovenian side NK Maribor or Bosnian outfit HSK Zrinjski, who complete their tie on Wednesday night.