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Hapoel Tel-Aviv show spirit with Legia success

Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC 2-0 Legia Warszawa
Unable to advance before kick-off, goals from Salim Toama and Avihay Yadin earned the hosts some pride with a win in the absence of coach Dror Kashtan.

Hapoel Tel-Aviv celebrate Salim Toama's opener against Legia
Hapoel Tel-Aviv celebrate Salim Toama's opener against Legia ©Getty Images

Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC did absent coach Dror Kashtan proud, signing off from UEFA Europa League Group C with a 2-0 win against Legia Warszawa, despite being reduced to ten men.

Kashtan missed the game due to a family bereavement, and while his team were already destined to be eliminated from Europe, Hapoel could take pride after fine goals from Salim Toama and Avihay Yadin yielded a home victory. Gal Shish's dismissal just after the hour mark proved to be of little consequence.

Sure of the section's runners-up spot, Legia allowed their hosts to take the initiative. However, that almost paid dividends on 15 minutes as the Polish side broke at speed, and it took a firm block from Édel Apoula to deny Miroslav Radović his fifth goal of the group stage. Toto Tamuz then went close, with Wojciech Skaba at full stretch to push his shot from the right round the post.

Toama promptly stole the show, sending a 33rd-minute free-kick over the wall with such wicked swerve that Skaba was left standing. Indeed, a 1-0 defecit at half-time was almost a relief for Legia, with Yadin whizzing a powerful effort just over the bar before another Toama set piece had Skaba scrambling to cover his back post.

Hapoel never hit the same kind of stride after the break, with Shish's red card for a second yellow card not helping matters. Legia sensed an equaliser; substitute Rafał Wolski let fly from distance and Radović once again came off worst when through on Apoula's goal. Hapoel made it 2-0 on the break, though, Yadin receiving the ball on the edge of the area and bending a stylish effort into the top corner.