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Hapoel hope to seize Salzburg chance

Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC and FC Salzburg are aiming to reach the group stage for the first time with the Israeli champions having home advantage and a 3-2 lead for the second leg of their play-off.

Hapoel celebrate during the first leg in Austria
Hapoel celebrate during the first leg in Austria ©AFP

Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC are looking to prolong only their second UEFA Champions League campaign into a first group-stage appearance. Standing between them and that goal are an FC Salzburg team who are equally eager to progress.

• The Israeli side hold the upper hand following the first leg in Austria. Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama gave the visitors a third-minute lead from the penalty spot and, though Nikola Pokrivač levelled in the 28th minute, goals either side of half-time from Ben Sahar (44) and Itay Shechter (53) put Hapoel in command before Roman Wallner's 67th-minute spot kick gave Salzburg hope.

• Hapoel are relative novices at this level having played in only one previous UEFA Champions League tie, also against Austrian opposition, in the 2000/01 second qualifying round. SK Sturm Graz were 3-0 winners in the first leg before a 2-1 away victory in Tel-Aviv.

• This time round the Israeli champions knocked out FK Željezničar of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the second qualifying round (5-0 home, 1-0 away) before overturning a 1-0 first-leg loss in Kazakhstan at FK Aktobe with a 3-1 triumph in the return in Tel-Aviv.

• At the same stage a year ago Salzburg faced another Israeli club, Maccabi Haifa FC, losing 2-1 at home in the first leg before a 3-0 reverse in Israel.

• That marked the third time in four seasons Salzburg had fallen at the hurdle before the group stage following their third qualifying round defeats against FC Shakhtar Donetsk (3-2 on aggregate) and Valencia CF (3-1 on aggregate) in 2007/08 and 2006/07 respectively.

• Salzburg were 5-0 home winners in the first leg of their second qualifying round tie against HB Tórshavn, rendering a 1-0 reverse in the Faroe Islands largely irrelevant. The Austrian side then drew 1-1 at AC Omonia in the third qualifying round first leg, but defeated the Cypriot club 4-1 at home in the return.

Match background
• Since their first Austrian encounter, against Sturm, Hapoel have fared better against opponents from that country with a 4-1 aggregate defeat of FC Kärnten (4-0 away, 0-1 home in a match played in Sofia) in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup first round.

• Hapoel were paired with SK Rapid Wien in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage, recording a 5-1 win at home – Itay Shechter, Gil Vermouth and Mahran Lala among the scorers – and a 3-0 victory away with Avihay Yadin and Vermouth on target.

• Last season's Haifa tie was Salzburg's second taste of Israeli opposition after their 5-2 aggregate win against the same team (2-1 away, 3-1 home) in the 1994/95 UEFA Champions League preliminary round.

Team ties
• Salzburg central defender Rabiu Afolabi and Hapoel goalkeeper Enyeama were both in the Nigeria squad at this summer's FIFA World Cup finals, the former playing two games and the latter all three.

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