Dream ends for Kiryat Shmona
Champions League Third Qualifying Round Second Leg
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona 1
BATE Borisov 1
(BATE win 3-1 on aggregate)
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona’s dreams of facing the likes of Real Madrid or Barcelona in the Champions League were finally extinguished after a 3-1 aggregate defeat by BATE Borisov.
Trailing 2-0 from the first leg in Belarus, Gili Landau’s men could only salvage a solitary strike courtesy of Laszlo Lencse’s spectacular second-half effort.
Both Shimon Abihazira and Barakh Badash wasted great chances late on to take the game into extra-time.
But with the home side pushing for the all-important equaliser, BATE struck on the counter-attack deep into injury time to make the tie safe.
Kiryat Shmona set about their opponents at a frenetic pace but despite bossing possession for long periods, they were unable to find a breakthrough before the break.
Striker Lencse wasted his side’s best opportunity of the first half, latching on to Darko Tasevski’s through ball before lifting a delicate chipped effort over the crossbar.
The home side continued to try and find a way past the BATE defence and thought they had clawed a goal back when Shimon Abihazira fired home just after the hour mark.
But any celebrations were cut short by the assistant referee’s flag after the Kiryat Shmona man was adjudged to have been in an offside position.
BATE were beginning to tire and it was no surprise when the Israeli champions eventually took a deserved lead.
Lencse was pulled down 20-yards from goal and the striker picked himself up before curling a stunning effort into the top corner.
Abihazira then wasted a glorious opportunity to equalise with 15 minutes remaining, firing wide of the near post after beating the BATE offside trap.
Substitute Badash should have made it 2-0 with eight minutes left but somehow poked his effort high and wide from just six-yards out.
That was to be Kiryat Shmona’s final chance and with just seconds left, Alex Pavlov rounded off a swift BATE move to seal his side's place in the next round and leave the Israeli side facing the drop into the Europa League.