Levy: All is not lost for Haifa

By Simon Griver, September 24, 2009
Haifa hotshot: Yaniv Katan

Haifa hotshot: Yaniv Katan

Maccabi Haifa manager Elisha Levy is confident his team can get their Champions League plans back on track when they travel to Bordeaux on Wednesday.

The Israeli champions will look to bounce back from the 3-0 defeat against Bayern Munich in their opening Champions League group match.

Levy insists that his team can take heart from some aspects of the defeat against Bayern. He said: “We played very well for the majority of the game and the result did not reflect our efforts. We created many chances and if we repeat the performance in France, and show more sharpness in front of goal, then we can beat Bordeaux away.” Bayern boss Louis Van Gaal was high in praise for Haifa. “We beat a very good team,” he said. “Haifa is an excellent side which plays good soccer. You can tell they are a well-coached team.”

Haifa will be boosted by a 2-1 league away victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv on Monday night, which saw them maintain their 100 per cent start to the season and move five points clear at the top of the table. Yaniv Katan and Eyal Golasa scored for Haifa with Hapoel’s Itai Shechter pulling one back.

Hapoel had their tails up after a stirring late comeback saw them beat Celtic 2-1 at Bloomfield in the Europa Cup. The Scots dominated the first half and were well worth their lead, courtesy of 25th minute strike from Greece striker Georgios Samaras.

But the second half belonged to Hapoel. As Celtic wilted in the heat, the equaliser came in the 75th minute when new Serb signing Nemanja Vucicevic slammed home the rebound after keeper Artur Boruc parried an effort from Samuel Yeboah. Supersub Maaran Lala popped up with the winner two minutes from time.

Celtic boss Tony Mowbray said the best team won. “Let’s not take anything away from Hapoel’s performance, they played very well.”

Hapoel coach Eli Guttman is confident his team can progress. “Matchday one showed us that this group is wide open.

“We certainly feel we have a very good chance of reaching the knockout stage.” They travel to Hamburg on Thursday.

Last updated: 2:51pm, September 24 2009