Tonight Maccabi Tel Aviv lost their away leg Europa League play-off match to Greek side Asteras Tripoli 2-0. The hosts posed a greater threat in front of goal and just before the half hour mark they took a one-goal lead through their Argentinian striker Pablo Mazza, who chested down a poor Maccabi clearance in the area and sliced a shot past keeper Juan Pablo. After the restart it took the hosts all of two minutes to double their lead after defender Giorgos Kyriakopoulos slotted home from inside the five yard box. Playing for the first time this season in white, Maccabi spent the time remaining trying to carve out a scoring opportunity, and even managed a threat or two shortly before the final whistle, but to no avail.

The contest began as a good reflection of the pastoral atmosphere inside the stadium itself, with both clubs maintaining a relaxed pace in the opening minutes of the match. Not until the eighth minute did a threat of any kind materialise, with Maccabi midfielder Maharan Radi sealing off an attack with a sharp, left-footed shot that deflected off an Asteras defender for a corner. At the other end Juan Pablo leapt to save a similar left-footed attempt by Asteras midfielder Martín Rolle. The hosts showed great speed in attack but until the half hour mark failed to convert that speed into scoring chances. That changed when the Maccabi defence twice failed to clear attempts close to their goalmouth and Pablo Mazza became third time lucky with a level shot past Juan Pablo into the net at the far post. Just before the break Maccabi midfielder Eran Zahavi very nearly surprised Kostas Theodoropoulos with a low angled effort from distance, but the Asteras keeper got a hand to it and sent it out of touch for a corner. Zahavi took the corner himself but was once again frustrated by Theodoropoulos.

Just a minute and a half after the restart Maccabi striker Eden Ben Basat found himself clearing a header off his own line by Asteras' Argentinian midfielder Pablo De Blasis. Pablo Mazza latched on to the rebound and Kyriakopoulos finally dinked the ball into the net. Now possessing a two-goal cushion, Asteras slowed down the pace of the game, passing the time with possession. Just short of the hour Ben Bassat got a ball behind the Asteras back four but from an almost impossible angle could only find the side netting. Eran Zahavi and fellow midfielder Dor Micha both tried their luck from distance but the in both cases the target evaded them. At the other end De Blasis once again penetrated the Maccabi defence but after transferring the ball to his favoured left foot saw his shot swept away for a corner by Juan Pablo. Five minutes from time Maccabi had their best chance of the match when Nigerian midfielder Nosa Igiebor got inside the area with a clear shot on goal but chose to pass instead. No such hesitation at the other end, where Argentinian striker Jeronimo Barrales, coming on for goalscorer Mazza, had only the keeper to beat but saw his somewhat casual looped effort blocked by the lanky Juan Pablo. In the match's dying moments Maccabi's substitute striker Rade Prica also managed to get behind the Asteras defence but shot straight at the keeper.

Next week the two clubs will meet again, this time at the now familiar Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium in Larnaca, Cyprus, for the second leg of the tie that will determine which of the two groups advance to the group stage of the competition.