Five-star Hapoel hammer Bosnians
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Hapoel Tel Aviv moved a step closer to the group stages of the UEFA Champions League after thumping Bosnian champions FK Zeljeznicar 5-0 in the second qualifying round first leg at Bloomfield Stadium on Tuesday.
All the goals came in the first half as striker Ma'aran Lala grabbing a hat-trick. New signing Yossi Shivhon, who recently joined from Maccabi Tel Aviv, claimed a debut goal and an own goal from Mirsad Beslija completing the rout.
It should have been 6-0 but Walid Badir, the former Wimbledon player, missed a penalty in a match dominated by the home side.
Hapoel manager Eli Guttman said: “I was pleasantly surprised to see such a highly motivated first half performance in the middle of July. We kept them under pressure from the start and took our chances.”
Reserve goalkeeper Galil Ben-Shanan was barely tested while want-away Nigerian stopper Vincent Enyeama was given a standing ovation as he sat on the bench after returning late from Nigeria due to passport problems following his heroics at the World Cup.
It remains unclear whether Enyeama will return to the side or Hapoel will accede to the Nigerian's request to accept a €1 million offer from Porto. Enyeama’s services will not be required next Wednesday in Sarajevo as Hapoel mull the options.
The draw for the third qualifying round is on Friday with the winners advancing to the playoff round for the group stage.