Wisla Krakow coach Maciej Skorza may have been the only person in Poland yesterday to feel pity for Beitar Jerusalem after his team inflicted a crushing 5-0 defeat to the Israeli club on Wednesday.
"Beitar was having a particularly bad day, and we played quality soccer. Everything worked out for us," Skorza said. "Beitar is a very good team with talented players, as it proved in Jerusalem [where they beat Krakow 2-1.] Perhaps the first goal put them in shock."
Poland's press, however, were less merciful with the Israeli champion and said the squad reminded them of a team "lost in the desert, without its shepherd."
Most Polish journalists were less concerned with the Israeli team's debacle and focused instead on Krakow's next opponent, Barcelona. "Can Wisla threaten Barcelona after humiliating miserable Beitar?" they asked.
"Wisla taught Beitar a lesson it should have a week earlier in Jerusalem," the Gazeta newspaper wrote, adding a barb aimed at the Israeli's bigger budget: "Soccer is not always measured according to one's purse."
The Super Express paper remarked that it was not expecting such a convincing tour de force by the local Poles who "crushed its rivals whose budget is twice as big and ambitions [go] sky high."
Poland's press commented on how Beitar's game lacked any kind of sophistication and failed to threaten Krakow's goal, with the exception of Barak Itzhaki's pathetic miss in front of a wide-open goal. That opportunity came when the match was already over and even if successful would not have stopped the Poles from easily advancing to the next qualifier.
Meanwhile, Maccabi Haifa was preparing itself yesterday for its Toto Cup match against a "bleeding" Beitar. Haifa coach Elisha Levi said he was worried that his players don't treat the encounter with due seriousness.
"I want everyone over the next few days to think only about Beitar so you come prepared as best as you can," Levi told his team.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now