Maccabi face tough Swiss trip
Maccabi Tel Aviv have been handed a tough draw in the third qualifying round of the Champions League against Basle.
In the second qualifying round, the Israeli champions made light work of Gyor completing a 4-1 aggregate
victory over the Hungarian champions on Tuesday night with a 2-1 win at Bloomfield Stadium.
Goals in each half by Tal Ben Haim and Eran Zehavi underlined Maccabi’s superiority, but Leandro Martinez struck late for Gyor. Last week, Maccabi had virtually assured progress with a 2-0 win in Hungary through late goals by Barak Yitzhaki and Gal Alberman.
Basle will provide far more formidable opposition. The Swiss champions reached the semi-finals of the Europa League earlier this year after dumping Spurs out in the quarter finals but Maccabi's new Portuguese manager Paulo Sousa is up for the challenge.
"It will be difficult against Basle. They are a highly experienced team with quality players used to playing in the Champions League Europe but we are good enough to deal with them."
Maccabi travel to Switzerland for the first leg on Tuesday night July 30 and the second leg on August 7.
In the Europa league, Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Tel Aviv look set to progress to the third qualifying round.
Haifa beat Azerbaijan’s Khazar Lankaren 2-0 at Kiryat Eliezer in the first leg of the second qualifying round and have been drawn against Ventspils of Latvia or Jeunesse of Luxembourg.
Hapoel Tel Aviv beat Zagora 4-1 in Bulgaria and face either Levadia Tallinn of Estonia or Pandurii of Romania. Hapoel Ramat Gan play Portugal’s Estoril Praia in the third round.