I’m writing this on one of the buses taking fans back to Tel Aviv after the game. Talk has already moved on to possible trips to Madrid, Dortmund and, no doubt, Barca again!! For long periods tonight though it looked an unlikely scenario.
No flags this time but, when we arrived at the ground, a small number of Israeli fans made their feelings known very graphically. This happened sporadically throughout the game with home stewards having to remove a couple of home fans from our end of the ground.
The feeling among the fans was as optimistic as I’ve known it in Europe. We should have known better! I’ve not seen any replays so those of you who watched it on TV don’t need me to describe what happened. At the game it seemed like a horrible case of deja vu as we struggled to retain possession. Their penalty wasn’t a surprise and nor was their goal. What was frustrating all of us was the way we kept losing 60-40 balls never mind 50-50 ones. Be’er Sheva got to our bye line too often and always seemed to have a spare man, whilst we were struggling to find anybody. I’m hoping that a central midfield enforcer is the next signing that Brendan has been hinting at. Janko was coming in for some heavy criticism but the team overall was struggling.
Once they scored at the beginning of the second half we all felt that we needed a goal. There was no way I could see us holding out for another 45 mins. When we got to 80 mins though the mood changed from despair to hope amongst the fans. I was still expecting a late disaster but the last ten mins were calmer than any other time before.
Then the whistle went and we all celebrated a 0-2 defeat! As we generously applauded a couple of HBS players one of them, Tedzek, spat twice towards us. Shame he was so upset!
The overwhelming feeling amongst the travelling fans is ‘job done’. It certainly beats the feeling in Malmo 12 months ago.
It’s now 0100 Israeli time and our bus has moved about 2 miles!l. Going to be a late night!
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