Hapoel denied at death
Hapoel Tel-Aviv crashed out of European competition altogether at Lyon in a thrilling 2-2 draw.
By Mike Barton
Last Updated: 07/12/10 10:52pm
Hapoel Tel-Aviv crashed out of European competition altogether despite a heroic performance at Lyon in a thrilling 2-2 draw.
Alexandre Lacazette scored an equaliser in the dying minutes to deny Hapoel, who had come from behind through Ben Sahar and a stunning overhead kick from Eran Zahavi to cancel out Lisandro Lopez's opener.
It was a game full of thrills and spills as neither defence appeared to be at the races, with goalkeepers Hugo Lloris and Vincent Enyeama excelling at both ends.
Lyon went into the game with their eyes still on a top spot in Group B should German side Schalke fail to beat Benfica.
Hapoel, meanwhile, had the chance to qualify for the Europa League in third place should Benfica lose and they win in the Stade Gerland.
The match started off at a pedestrian pace, but burst into life minutes later with the home side on the front foot and Lopez smashing a shot just past the near post from the edge of the box.
It was certainly Lyon with the bit between their teeth, but a mistake from defender Cris allowed Itay Schechter to run past him, but despite being seemingly tripped by the Brazilian, nothing was given.
Lyon were then denied by the referee's assistant as Bafetimbi Gomis headed home Jimmy Briand's excellent cross from the right, but he was adjudged to just be offside.
The home team were by far the better side and in full control of proceedings, with the Israelis failing to make any headway going forward and keeping almost every man in their own half.
They were then dealt a blow as Schechter was withdrawn with a shoulder injury just 23 minutes in, where he was replaced by former Chelsea youngster Sahar.
Lyon were still on top, with Maralem Pjanic making space well before trying to curl the ball in, however he was denied well by Enyeama.
Hapoel immediately broke, capitalising on some slack defending by Pape Diakhate and Cris to allow Sahar to run through and feed Toto Tamuz, but his effort was tipped over superbly by Lloris.
Sahar's pace was threatening the home team, with Diakhate and Cris again struggling to deal with some simple tasks and seeming to panic with the substitute's acceleration with the ball.
Enyeama then made another fine stop, denying Jean Makoun with a crisp side-footed shot form the edge of the box after being set up well by Gomis.
Cris then managed to get on the end of the corner with a downward header bouncing into the top corner, but Hapoel skipper Gil Vermouth headed off the line.
There was then huge confusion as Sahar ran clean through despite being over a yard offside and firing into Lloris' legs with a glorious chance, but despite originally being flagged, referee Svein Moen adjudged him to be onside.
It was chances galore as Gomis and Makoun fired in shots, but were denied by Enyeama and the post respectively.
Lyon began the second half the better; in control of the game and looking to grab a goal to pressure Schalke.
Enyeama once again denied Makoun with a flying save from a side-footed shot into the top corner from the Cameroon international.
Lloris then made an excellent point-blank range save from Vermouth after Sahar broke through Lyon's fragile defence, with the French No.1 turning his acute angled shot on to the post.
But the deadlock was finally broken as Lopez capitalised on some slack defending to fire low into the net following Enyeama's decision to try and clear substitute Michel Bastos' deflected shot with his legs.
The lead lasted barely a minute, however, as Sahar beat Lyon's offside trap to run on to Zahavi's excellent through ball and finish superbly to Lloris' left into the far corner as the game burst into life.
Both defences appeared to be all at sea, as Sahar and Briand both fired wide from good positions in a game that could have seen six or seven goals from both sides.
And the attacking football continued, with Zahavi putting Hapoel in front from Vermouth's cross as the ball looked to be going behind him.
However in truly heroic side, Zahavi swivelled and improvised to fire home a stunning overhead kick inside the box to leave the sprawling Lloris no chance and put Hapoel in the Europa League third spot.
Lyon were shell-shocked, passing the ball poorly and clearly having their confidence knocked after dominating for most of the game.
Enyeama was in inspired form as he turned over a rasping shot by Anthony Reveillere with six minutes on the clock as the home team tried to apply the pressure.
And he was magnificent again as he denied Lopez's snap-shot in the box to fly low to his left to deny the Argentine.
But the Nigerian could do nothing about Lacazette's goal at the death with two minutes remaining, as he burst through to fire the ball off the post and into the net.
Hapoel were now going out of Europe, with the game more open than ever as both teams looked to get the winner.It just wasn't to be for the Israelis, and despite a brave effort from the visitors, they just missed out on a Europa League spot, while the French side went through in second place following Schalke's win at Benfica.
|Lyon||Team Statistics||Hapoel Tel Aviv|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|12||Shots on Target||7|
|13||Shots off Target||4|