Maccabi Tel Aviv overcame the embarrassment of becoming the first European side to lose to an Andorran team in the UEFA Cup when it routed Santa Colomo 4-0 in the return leg of their first round qualifying tie at Bloomfield last night.
The result gave Maccabi a 4-1 aggregate win and sent it through to today's second round draw in Switzerland along with Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Netanya. Beitar Jerusalem will also be awaiting news from Nyon today when it learns of its potential Champions League third qualifying round opponent. Beitar trails FC Copenhagen 1-0 from the first leg in Denmark earlier this week.
After its humiliation in Andorra La Vella two weeks ago, Maccabi had the backing of a 12,000 strong crowd at Bloomfield last night and straight away put the visitors under pressure.
On five minutes Yossi Sibhon, the man of the match for Maccabi last night, drew a fine save from Ricardo Fernandez with a shot from the edge of box. A minute later Maccabi had a claim for a penalty turned down when Avi Nimni's volley was handled by Xavier Gil.
Maccabi's efforts were rewarded on 12 minutes when Yannick Kamanan latched on a cross from Sibhon, shook off Gil and sent a driving diagonal strike past Fernandez.
On 14 minutes Erez Mesika blasted a shot against the crossbar, but on 25 minutes Mesika got it right after a clever cross from Sibhon. In between Omer Peretz had a goal disallowed for offside.
On 29 minutes Maccabi was reduced to 10 men after Ori Sheetrit was sent off after Santa Coloma's Brazlian forward Maicon Dos Santos took a convincing dive in the face of the Maccabi player's raised fist. For a moment, the visitors looked as if they might pull a goal back.
Maccabi turned the heat back on after the interval, and on 63 minutes Sibhon capped a wonderful evening on his return from injury with a superb solo effort after stealing the ball in midfield, sidestepping a defender and slicing a shot into Fernandez' far corner.
Kamanan wrapped up the result with his second on 71 minutes when he tapped Mesika's cross past Fernandez.
"That was a relief," said Maccabi coach Eli Cohen after the match. "We corrected our mistakes from the first leg in Andorra. Even against traffic cones it isn't easy to score four goals."
Meanwhile, Maccabi Chairman Loni Herzikovic said he expected to complete the transfer of the club's ownership to businessman Roni Mane on Sunday.
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