Not only Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Beer Sheva and champions Maccabi Haifa will play tomorrow (Thursday) in the Conference League. Between the playoffs, there will also be a special fascinating meeting between two of Israel’s senior legionnaires, with Anderlecht and Lior Rapalov hosting Vitsa and Eli Desa. Later in the evening, partisan Belgrade and Beavers Natcho will be hosted by Portuguese Santa Clara, in Poland Rakov will host Ghent and Jonas Melda and Feyenoord and Ophir Marciano will meet Alpsburg.
Eli Desa came up from the Vitsa bench for just 23 minutes on Sunday in a 0.1 win over Zola in the opening round of the Dutch league, but those were his first minutes of the season. Desa was injured when he returned from the break and was absent from the team’s last pre.season games, but has now returned to fitness and it is not inconceivable that he will start in the away game in Belgium.
Last round Vitsa beat Dandock after 2: 2 in the Netherlands in the first game and a 2: 2 reciprocal victory in Ireland and now it expects a much better rival in the form of Anderlecht, the Belgian luxury club last man over Albanian Lachi and also in the league gained momentum thanks to two consecutive victories. With a bit of an embarrassing loss for the newcomer in the opening round and a disappointing draw against Ofan.
With the exception of the victory over Lachi in the return match after 0: 3 in the first meeting, Lior Rapalov started with all of Anderlecht’s victories and was one of the most prominent players of coach Vincent Kompany. The 35.year.old midfielder is due to start tomorrow in the squad, but the one who is less impressed by him is Ed de Moss, who previously coached both Anderlecht and Vitesse and told HLN ahead of the meeting between them: “I’m not crazy about Lior Rapalov’s joining.
Tonight’s final game of the Conference League playoffs will bring together Portuguese Santa Clara and partisan Belgrade and Beavers Natcho. Last week, the Serbs overtook Sochi at the end of a penalty shootout in Serbia, in which the captain of the Israeli national team was replaced in the 65th minute, but he is expected to continue in the squad tomorrow.
On the other hand, Santa Clara, in her second appearance in European history and first since 2002/3, overtook Olympia Ljubljana in the third qualifying round. In the Portuguese league they were defeated 3.0 by Tundela and on Sunday finished 2.2 against Morriensa, a game in which they took the lead in extra time and suffered a draw immediately after the penalty shootout.
In Europe, Jonas Melda has so far played only 41 minutes in four games and tomorrow he is not expected to start in the squad, but will hope to win significant minutes in the game in Poland and possibly also score for the second time this season. In fact, the 21.year.old striker’s only goal was in the Conference League qualifiers, although in the Belgian league he has opened in three of four games this season.
Rakov managed to oust Robin Kazan from the Conference League, she passed last week thanks to a 0: 1 in extra time, and in the second round she also ousted Lithuanian Sudova at the end of a penalty shootout.
Ophir Marciano is not supposed to stand between the posts, but will sit on the bench and hope to see his teammates go on to win for the fifth time in a row in all competitions. The Dutch scored 0: 4 easily in the opening of the Dutch league and in Europe scored 0: 6 in the summary of the games against the Swiss Lucerne on the way to the meeting against the Swedish Alpsborg, which is ranked fourth in the country after 15 rounds in the previous round of the Conference League.