Carried by the boiling atmosphere of this noisy and colorful Bloomfield stadium throughout the game, Maccabi Tel Aviv takes an option in this qualifying play-off for the group stage of the Europa Conference League. The Israelis were able to turn their backs in the first period and plant the Aiglons on their first real chance. Taking advantage of a hesitation from the misaligned defense, then from Schmeichel badly taken out, the Croatian striker Stipe Perica scored the only goal of this terribly frustrating match for the Gym. The specter of 2013 and an early elimination will hover over the Rouge et Noir until the return match next Thursday at the Allianz Riviera.
Plenty of chances in the first half
The first opportunity was for the Aiglons in the 4th minute when Rares Ilie, coming out of an outside hook from the right, opened the way to the goal but came up against a defender. A minute later Delort is on the receiving end of a cross and alerts goalkeeper Peretz but the flag goes up to signal an offside position. Ramsey organizes, Ilie creates, Atal overflows and centers, the system and Favre’s choices work and the Aiglons dominate this first half, without finding the opening unfortunately. Despite a huge opportunity at the heart of this first act.
Peretz brings out the big game in the 1st period
Launched deep Delort finds Peretz’s left post on a strong low shot that returns to Ilie. Alone against the empty goal, the young Romanian did not find the target (23rd). Infuriating! Five minutes later, Peretz pulls out all the stops with a powerful strike from Ramsey. The end of the first period is more painful for the Gym. Maccabi finally come out of their shell and send some shivers through the Nice defense. But Jovanovic is unable to head the ball and a fleeing center comes to die just next to the left post of Schmeichel (41st). After a final attempt by Delort kicked back by the Israeli goalkeeper, the two teams return to the locker room (0-0).
The Gym retreats in the second half… and is punished
The second period resumed at a slower pace for the Aiglons. Further down the field, the Gym lets the opponent come more. Who starts to believe it. Enterprising if not dangerous. On the hour mark, Brahimi and Gouiri replace Ilie and Stengs to bring freshness to the sides. The two quickly stand out to combine on the left side but Ramsey does not fit (67th). The free kick obtained from 30 meters by Gouiri then allows Delort to hit goalkeeper Peretz hard. In front, Maccabi only need one chance to open the scoring and Perica pierces the Nice defense and the nets of Schmeichel (74th). A lob that leaves the Aiglons on the buttocks. The reaction behind is too shy and the Gym is making it really difficult before the return match next Thursday at the Allianz Riviera.