A late Roman Wallner penalty has given Red Bull Salzburg hope of progressing into the Champions League group stages despite a 3-2 first leg defeat at home to Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Salzburg gave themselves a mountain to climb when an Etay Shechter goal early in the second half gave the visitors a commanding 3-1 lead. However, The Bulls rallied and now need a two-goal win in Israel to go through.
The home side got off to the worst possible start at the Red Bull Arena as Franz Schiemer gave away a soft penalty, bringing down Shechter as he turned in the box. Bizarrely, it was Hapoel’s goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, who slotted home the resultant kick.
After Salzburg had gone close through Christoph Leitgeb, they got their equaliser as Yossi Shivon’s poor clearance fell invitingly to Nikola Pokrivac on the edge of the box. The Croatian steadied himself before rifling a shot into the bottom corner.
However, the home side weren’t on level terms for long as Hapoel nudged back in front before half-time. Deddi Ben-Dayan’s cross from the left met powerfully by ex-Chelsea striker Ben Sahar whose header beat Gerhard Tremmel in The Bulls’ goal.
Things soon got worse for Salzburg in the second half. Shechter once again beating the offside trap before slotting his shot calmly past Tremmel.
The introduction of Wallner finally gave Salzburg some urgency up front, and his industry was rewarded as the home side clawed their way back into the tie with 25 minutes to go. Jakob Jantscher’s surging run into the box was brought to an abrupt halt by Omri Kende, allowing Wallner to score from the spot.
As the game wore on both teams pushed for another goal, and The Bulls have Tremmel to thank for keeping them in the tie. A two-goal victory in the second leg will see them through to the group stage however their experience in Israel isn’t good, having fallen at this stage last season to Maccabi Haifa.
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