Maccabi suffer Europa League heartache

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Maccabi suffer Europa League heartache

Maccabi Tel Aviv have been knocked out of the Europa League - despite winning their final group game against Dundalk.

Andrew Sherwood is the Jewish News Sport and Community Editor

The Israelis went into Thursday’s final group game knowing they had to beat the Irish side, while also hoping Zenit St Petersberg – who had already qualified from the group as leaders – avoided defeat at Alkmaar.

However, despite beating Dundalk 2-1, AK Alkmaar’s 3-2 win over the Russians meant their win was in vain.

The hosts, who had lost 1-0 in Dublin back on match day two, got off to the perfect start in the 20th minute when Gary Rogers brought down Haris Medunjanin in the box. Tal Ben Haim II stepped up and fired the spot kick down the centre of the net.

The lead only lasted five minutes when Eli Dasa put through his own net, however just as Maccabi began to show signs of frustration, Ben Haim II this time played provider, as he set up Dor Micha, who fired home.

The second half saw Maccabi go in search of a goal, especially as news filtered through from Holland that Zenit had pulled back a goal to trail 2-1. That gleam of hope was soon tempered when news filtered through of the Dutch side scoring a third, and although Zenit scored again, they couldn’t claim an equaliser, meaning Maccabi finished the group in third place.

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