Maccabi Tel Aviv salvages win for Israeli soccer

Last year's runner up is sole Israeli team to win in Europe this week, defeating Hajduk Split of Croatia 2-1.

Shai Landesman ,

Maccabi players after scoring
Maccabi players after scoring
Photo: Maccabi Tel Aviv official site

Maccabi Tel Aviv took a step towards qualifying for the Europa League group stage last night (Thursday) when they defeated Croatian team Hajduk Split 2-1 in their "home" leg in Netanya.

Tel Aviv are playing their home games in Netanya this year due to renovations in Bloomfield stadium in Tel Aviv.

Gal Alberman opened the scoring in the 9th minute with a long-range effort, getting the yellow and blue from Tel Aviv off to a good start, which was maintained until the half.

It didn't take long in the second half for the Croats to find an answer though, and Striker Ahmed Said equalized in the 57th minute after a series of mistakes by the Tel Aviv defense, scoring what may yet prove to be a crucial away goal.

Maccabi rallied and produced a winner through new Argentine Striker Oscar Scarione in the 76th minute, with the assist coming from star winger Tal Ben-Haim, who will miss next week's return leg in Croatia through yellow cards.

Though Tel Aviv will be pleased with the victory - especially in a week in which both Hapoel Be'er Sheva and Betar Jerusalem registered ignominious defeats - they find themselves in a somewhat precarious position going into next week, as they did give up the away goal. If each team wins one out of the two games in a two-leg tie, and they both scored the same amount of goals overall, the team with more away goals advances.

This means that if Maccabi loses 1-0 in Croatia next week, they will be eliminated. Still, the yellow and blue will be confident of its ability to score an away goal of its own - preferably early in the game - which will put it in the drivers seat to ensure European soccer for the club will continue deep into the season.