Maccabi had Barak Badash sent off but an Eran Zahavi penalty and a Tal Ben Haim strike sent them past Santa Coloma 2-0 and into the Champions League 3rd qualifying round

Tonight (Tuesday) Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Andorran champions FC Santa Coloma 2-0 in the return leg of their Champions League 2nd round qualifying match, completing a 3-0 aggregate win that sends them through to the 3rd round.  This "home" leg was played quite a distance from home, at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium in Cyprus, after UEFA announced that in light of the security situation Israeli clubs participating in European competition would not be able to host their home matches in Israel. Maccabi put the Andorrans under pressure from the very start of the match and less than ten minutes in striker Rade Prica's strong effort narrowly missed the post. The Swedish forward saw another chance on the quarter hour mark, but this time it was the Santa Coloma keeper Eloy Casals who stood in his way. Three minutes later Casals was again brought into action to stop winger Tal Ben Haim breaking in from the left. Maccabi midfielders Dor Micha and Eran Zahavi also tried their luck, the former with a header off a cross from Ben Haim, the latter with a strike from outside the area, but the first half finished goalless.

The second half began much as the first, with intensive pressure from the home side on the visitors' goal. Just past the hour mark that pressure paid off when a ball off the foot of an onrushing Dan Einbinder was handled in the area by Santa Coloma's Spanish forward Albert Mercadé. Eran Zahavi stepped up to the spot to convert the awarded penalty to put his side ahead 1-0 before rushing off to celebrate with team-mates clutching the Israeli flag. On 73 minutes Zahavi attempted to double his side's advantage with an impressive personal effort but his finish flew over the bar. Four minutes later Maccabi were down to ten men after substitute striker Barak Badash saw straight red for a confrontation with a Santa Coloma defender. The visitors too ended the match a man short when Albert Mercadé was sent off after being issued a second yellow card for a foul on Tal Ben Haim. Zahavi would later find himself for a second time alone with the Santa Coloma keeper but the Spaniard held firm and blocked the effort. But it was Tal Ben Haim who would have the final word, rounding Casals in the last minute of the match and sealing Maccabi's 2-0 triumph.

Next week the Maccabi squad will play the away leg of their Champions League 3rd round qualifier, facing the aggregate winner after tomorrow's 2nd round tie between Slovenian champions NK Maribor and Bosnian titleholders HSK Zrinjski.