The Yellow & Blue came away with a 2:1 win in the return leg of the Europa League Playoff Round thanks to goals by Itay Shechter (penalty) and a 20 meter blast by Eliran Atar. However, it would not be enough to see Maccabi through to the Group Stages as Ole Jørgen Halvorsen’s penalty would give Sarpsborg a 3:4 aggregate win after a 3:1 victory in the first leg in Norway. Maccabi will now turn their sights on the Israel Premier League as they head to Hapoel Beer Sheva this Sunday, 21:00 on Matchday 2.

Head Coach Vladimir Ivic’s Starting XI included keeper Predrag Rajkovic, Eli Dasa, Eitan Tibi, Sheran Yeini, Enric Saborit, Ruslan Barsky, Dan Glazer, Dor Micha, Omer Atzily, Eliran Atar and Vidar Kjartansson.

Available on the bench were keeper Haviv Ohayon, Chico Ofoedu, Itay Shechter, Yonatan Cohen, Aaron Schoenfeld, Shahar Piven, Dor Peretz.

First Half
Atar had Maccabi’s first chance of the match when he took an attempt from 20 meters but the keeper Aleksandr Vasyutin was in place to make the 6’ save while five minutes later Ole Jørgen Halvorsen’s scorcher from inside the box was blocked by Rajkovic to keep the contest goalless early on.

The Yellow & Blue had a masterful chance to score in the 20’ when Vidar turned in the box with the ball but his shot was saved by Vasyutin as Maccabi continued to apply pressure and maintain possession. Micha lifted a ball into the area but Saborit couldn’t get his head on it in the 27’ while Atzily was issued a yellow card in the box in the 31’.

Micha’s brilliant blast in the 38’ was saved by a leaping Vasyutin and two minutes later Atzily’s 25 meter attempt was again stopped by an active Vasyutin. In the 43’ Atar’s free kick was stymied by the keeper and who parried it off the post and went out while in the 45’ Rashad Muhammed was issued a yellow card for a reckless tackle as the half ended deadlocked at 0:0.

Second Half
Coach Ivic made one substitute to begin the half as Itay Shechter was introduced for Vidar Kjartansson. And what a substitute it was as Shechter was pulled down in the box in the 50’ good for a penalty that Atzily converted for a 1:0 lead. Just a minute later Shechter and Atar combined in the box but the latter’s point blank range shot went over the bar.

With Maccabi looking for a second goal, Atar would find it in the 60’ as number 16 rifled home a 20’ meter blast to give the Yellow & Blue a 2:0 advantage. Atzily had a chance to add the third goal but his attempt flew over the bar in the 69’ while a minute later Yonatan Cohen was introduced for Eliran Atar who came off to a standing ovation.

At the other end of the pitch, Armin Askar had an opportunity for Sarpsborg but Rajkovic was up to the task in the 71’. However, Tibi was called for a foul in the box on Tobias Heintz who came in as a substitute in the 64’ and Sarpsborg was handed a penalty by the referee which Halvorsen converted cutting the Maccabi lead to 2:1.

Halvorsen and Askar each picked up yellow cards in the 81’ and 84’ respectively while the latter was taken off in favor of Harmeet Singh. Ivic made his third substitute in the 87’ when Aaron Schoenfeld entered the contest for Barsky. But it would not be enough as Maccabi Tel Aviv was eliminated 3:4 on aggregate from Europa League play.

The Yellow & Blue head to Beer Sheva on Sunday night for Matchday 2 of the Israel Premier League for a clash against Hapoel Beer Sheva at 21:00 at Toto Turner Stadium.