0-2 for Apollon over Maccabi • Radio Haifa 107.5

Omar Azili Photo: Omri Stein, ONE

Maccabi Haifa hosted Apollon Limassol this evening (Tuesday) at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia for the second leg of the third qualifying round of the Champions League. On paper, Barak Becher’s team came with an advantage that should be enough from the first game, which ended 0-4 in their favor. But in football nothing is finished and as can be seen, what happened on the grass in the first half. Bacher made changes in the 11th. He put Afri Arad in the lineup as a third stopper alongside Bogdan Palanich and Shawn Goldberg. San Menachem started as a left back, Mohamed Abu Fani in midfield and Omar Atzili played in the front along with Dean David and Franzi Piero.
The Cypriots went all out from the first moment and attacked with all their might. On the other hand, Maccabi Haifa tried to launch passing attacks and were even close to conquering, when Dean David stuck a ball into the crossbar in the first minutes. Shortly after, in the 19th minute, Apollon took the lead. Harbin Onganda kicked from 20 meters to Josh Cohen’s right post and from there into the net. 0-1 for Cypriots. Seven minutes later the hosts doubled their advantage. A mix-up in the area sent the ball to midfielder Israel Kol and the latter fired into Cohen’s net, an amazing 0-2 for Apollon.
Maccabi Haifa will want to forget this half. Also the striker Dean David. The latter found the net three times in the first half, but all of them were different. It happened in the 21st, 29th and 43rd minute. The last time was with a separate group of Franzi Piero who handed over to David. In general, Haifa had scoring situations and the possibility to score, but instead it got into trouble. At the end of the first half, 0-2 to Apollon and 4-2 to Maccabi in the summary of the two meetings.

Barak Becher  Photo: Omri Stein, ONE

Barak Becher Photo: Omri Stein, ONE

Barak Bakr made a significant substitution at halftime and put in Ali Muhammad instead of Afri Arad. With Mohamed on the grass, Maccabi Haifa was a different team on the grass in Nicosia. This may not be the team that ran over Apollon in Sami Ofer, but still, much better than the one in the bad first half. The 0-2 of the Cypriots was maintained until the end and in the summation of the two games, it ended with 4-2 of the champion from Israel on the way to the playoff stage of the Champions League, where the Red Star awaits in Belgrade. Maccabi secured at least a place in the European League and this has professional and financial significance.

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