Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Hapoel Tel Aviv 3-1 Aktobe

Hopefully not enough people follow this blog yet to take my awful betting advice. This is why I have no such betting accounts. I thought Aktobe from Kazakhstan could beat Israeli side Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel after they won the first leg 1-0. For this you could even get odds of 14-1 from Betfair. There were shorter odds for the eventual result of 3-1.

Aktobe don't have a good memory of Champions League qualifiers against Israeli opposition. Only last year, after a 0-0 first leg, Aktobe were 3-0 to the good before ending up losing 4-3. This year the Kazakh side took a 1-0 advantage to Tel Aviv and had looked fairly decent in the first leg despite having one Hapoel shot cleared off the line.

Aktobe set out their stall to defend with five at the back and whilst their negative tactics could be criticised the whole catenaccio approach is unsurprising considering their loss of Evgeniy Averchenko in midfield and the injury to front man Ivan Peric.

Hapoel manager, Eli Gutman, though expressed before the game that he was prepared to be patient in the confidence that the best team would eventually win through. In the end he didn't have to wait too long for his side to open their account as after 16 minutes Eran Zehavi put the Tel Aviv side level on aggregate. The 23 year old striker seems to be getting into the knack of scoring vital goals for his club as it was his shot in extra-time that won the Israeli top league on the last day of the season.

Two more goals followed in the first half and for the rest of the game Hapoel looked in control and Aktobe's consolation goal in the 90th minute proved to be just that.

So Hapoel's passenaccio did for Aktobe's catenaccio and the Israeli side go marching on. In order for the team to get into the group stage of the Champions League they must beat another team from the 'Champions' section of the draw. But with this not looking particularly strong this year we could well see Tel Aviv as a venue for group games yet.

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