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Hapoel go third as Rapid pay the penalty

FC Rapid Bucureşti 1-3 Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC
The damage was done in the first half as Dror Kashtan's counterattacking side won an eventful match to move up to third in Group C.

Nosa Igiebor (right) celebrates after giving Hapoel Tel-Aviv the lead against Rapid Bucureşti
Nosa Igiebor (right) celebrates after giving Hapoel Tel-Aviv the lead against Rapid Bucureşti ©Getty Images

A clinical first-half performance helped Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC overcome FC Rapid Bucureşti to claim third place in UEFA Europa League Group C.

In an eventful match in freezing Bucharest, Nosa Igiebor's close-range effort and Toto Tamuz's spot-kick gave the visitors a two-goal cushion, which was halved by a Ciprian Deac penalty. Salim Toama restored Hapoel's advantage on the stroke of half-time before Deac missed the third penalty of the match midway through the second half.

The visitors took the lead against the run of play when Tamuz bustled his way into the area before tumbling to ground; as the Rapid defence froze, Igiebor picked up the loose ball, benefited from a fortuitous deflection and a square pass from Omer Damari, before stroking the ball into an open goal.

Undeterred, Rapid continued to make the running, and would have replied 20 minutes in but for Édel Apoula's outstanding save from Mihai Roman's fierce shot. For all the good work of Vladimir Božović and Deac, however, Răzvan Lucescu's charges fell further behind when a penalty was awarded for a foul by Ovidiu Burcă on Omer Damari. Tamuz's fired straight down the middle.

Within four minutes Rapid's endeavour was rewarded with a goal, another spot-kick, given for a foul on Cássio by Omri Kende, and buried smartly by Deac, but no sooner had the Romanian side clawed their way back into the match than they slipped further behind, Shay Abutbul playing in Damari, whose cut-back was finished by Toama.

Rapid continued to push on and, after Daniel Pancu came close with a free-kick, were granted another penalty when Deac was felled by Bevan Fransman. Deac chose the opposite corner but this time Apoula guessed correctly, and further proof came that it was not to be Rapid's night when Božović curled a shot wide.