Israeli duo disappoint in Europa League

Israeli duo disappoint in Europa League

Maccabi Tel Aviv held at home by Dutch side, as Hapoel Beer'Sheva lose in Prague.

Andrew Sherwood is the Jewish News Sport and Community Editor

Maccabi Tel Aviv and AZ Alkmaar played out a goalless draw
Maccabi Tel Aviv and AZ Alkmaar played out a goalless draw

Maccabi Tel Aviv’s hopes of reaching the last 32 of the Europa League are still alive, despite being held to a disappointing 0-0 against AZ Alkmaar in Tel Aviv on Thursday night.

Having gone into the game on the back of a 2-1 win in Holland, in the last game, Shota Arveladze’s side spurned several good chances over the 90 minutes, though they had to settle for a point, which leaves their qualifying hopes in the balance.

Speaking after the match, and looking ahead to their next group game, in Russia against Zenit in three weeks’ time, Arveladze said: “If the game in St. Petersburg was in three or four days it would be a different case than when it will really will be at the end of the month. Some of the players will go on international duty but we have one game before and one game after. Right now the points are even as we have four points and Dundalk has four points as well. We played offensive football with a number of chances but there were parts when we weren’t as good.

“We have to give credit to the boys and the pitch wasn’t as good but they were all there. I saw how much we wanted to score but we couldn’t. The most difficult thing in football is to score.”

With the Russians sealing their qualifying last night, the remaining three sides can all still qualify with two matches remaining. Maccabi and Dundalk are level on four points, with Alkmaar on two. Maccabi travel to Russia next, before hosting Dundalk in their final game.

Elsewhere, Israeli champions Hapoel Be’erSheva are also still in contention, though they suffered another disappointing night after losing 2-0 to group leaders Sparta Prague. However, sitting in third spot, they have to win their last two games – at home to Inter Milan and away to Southampton to realistically guarantee a top-two spot, but four points from the two games, depending on results could still be enough.

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