Maccabi Tel Aviv ended the Conference League group stage in second spot and booked their place in the Round of 32 where they face a knockout playoff which will decide qualification for the round of 16. At the end of the 1-1 draw against Armenian side Alashkert in Yerevan which concluded the group phase Barak Itzhaki summed up the game.

Itzhaki, who saw Eylon Almog score a late equaliser, said: “We reached three or four good chances to score in the first half despite not playing well. It was a tough match away from home with difficult conditions as there wasn’t many fans at the stadium but we must still play a lot better and know how to put these chances away”.

On the fact he rested several players for this match, Itzhaki added: “We prepared seriously for this match but it was also a chance to give a chance to some players who didn’t play too much recently. We need to get them in shape because we will need everyone until the end of the season, but at the same time give other players a much needed rest as they played a lot of games. Overall the result is disappointing as we need to know how to win such games especially after the first half”.

To sum up the group phase, Itzhaki said: “We had a good chance to finish top of the group but we missed that chance in the home game against LASK. Ultimately we qualified to the next round, but we will now have to wait for the draw, learn the identity of our opponent and prepare accordingly”.

The team will return to Israel in the early hours of Friday morning and begin preparing for Monday’s league match against Hapoel Hadera at Bloomfield.