Israel’s two representatives in this season’s Europa League endured mixed results in their first matches of the competition.
Champions Hapoel Be’erSheva, who narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Champions League, began their Group G campaign with a 2-1 win over Swiss side Lugano.
Gettting off to the perfect start at the Turner Stadium, Daniel Einbinder fired them with just two minutes on the clock.
Tomas Pekhart spurned the opportunity to double their lead in the 11th minute, but saw his penalty saved by David Da Costa, but lightning didn’t strike twice on the hour mark, when awarded another spot kick, Shir Tzedek took over the responsibility and clipped his effort down the middle of the goal.
He got on the scoresheet again minutes later, this time it was inadvertently putting the ball into the back of his own net. However, they comfortably held on for the remaining 25 minutes to ensure an opening day win. The group’s other match saw FCSB beat Plzen 3-0.
Earlier in the evening, Maccabi Tel Aviv lost their first game of the season, beaten 1-0 by Slavia Prague. Having won seven and drawn one of their eight qualifying games this season, Tomas Necid’s 12th minute strike proved to be the difference in the Czech Republic. The group’s other game saw Villereal beat Astana 3-1.