Soccer Champions League Kiryat Shmona Misses Out on Money-spinning Group Stage

1-1 draw at home with Borisov is not enough to advance.

Moshe Harush
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Moshe Harush

Kiryat Shmona's Champions League run came to an end yesterday, and the only comfort for the Israeli title holder is that it will have a new lease on life in the Europa League competition.

Visiting BATE Borisov scored an injury-time goal to come out with a 1-1 draw, though the goal was not necessary as Borisov came into the game with a 2-0 aggregate advantage.

Still, Kiryat Shmona came out of the match in the national stadium in Ramat Gan with dignity, while favored Borisov punched its ticket into the group stage.

A few thousand devoted fans made their way from the north to watch their team, even though some admitted they did not have much to rely on for salvation.

Kiryat Shmona managed, however, to give its supporters some memorable moments and glimmers of hope. Adrian Rochet sent a pass to Laszlo Lencse in the 26th minute, but the Hungarian striker's arched shot went wide. The match remained scoreless until the 67th minute, when Lencse was fouled 20 meters from Borisov's goal. He make a beautiful penalty shot that hit the bar and bounced in to give Kiryat Shmona a 1-0 lead and the prospect of forcing extra time if it could score again.

Indeed, nine minutes later Lencse fed a pretty pass to Shimon Abuhazira just left and in front of the goal, but his teammate took a shoddy shot that hit the side of the net. Five minutes after that, Abuhazira drove on the left side and sent a pass to Barak Badash in the penalty area, but the angle didn't allow Badash to head the ball home.

During injury time Kiryat Shmona tried to make it 2-0 in a desperate attempt, which backfired as Borisov broke free and scored as time expired.

Kiryat Shmona’s Shimon Abuhazira, left, playing against BATE Borisov yesterday in Ramat Gan. Credit: Sharon Bukov

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