Maccabi Tel-Aviv v Dundalk

It's D-Day for Stephen Kenny's men as a win or score draw is needed for any hope of progression

RuaidhrĂ­ Croke Thu, Dec 8
 
LIVE: Maccabi Tel-Aviv v Dundalk

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  • 17:04

    Good evening and welcome to The Irish Times liveblog of Dundalk's clash with Maccabi Tel-Aviv in Israel. My name is Ruaidhrí Croke and I'll be keeping you right up to date with all of the action from the Netanya Stadium this evening as the Lilywhites go in search of yet more Irish history by seeking to become the first side from this island to advance to the knockout stages of European competition.

    To do that the permutations are simple - they must win and hope that AZ Alkmaar don't beat Zenit St Petersburg. A score draw, however, would also see Stephen Kenny's side advance if AZ lose at home to Zenit.

    You can get involved by using the 'Contact Us' button at the top of the blog or you can get me on Twitter @Ruaidhri_Croke.

    Team news to follow!

  • 17:10
  • 17:16

    So Dundalk captain Stephen O'Donnell fails to make the starting 11 as he continues to try to shake off injuries that have plagued him for a number of weeks.

    That means that the excellent Chris Shields comes in in the holding role with Patrick McEleney and Ronan Finn playing just in front of him in the middle.

    The back four remains unchanged while Robbie Bneson will start on the right, Daryl Horgan, as ever, on the left and David McMillan alone up front.

    Dundalk beat Maccabi in the home leg in Tallaght and from that they should take huge solace. They have nothing to lose this evening and, as they have done in every game so far, they will go for goals and the win.  

    However, this has been a long season for Dundalk. They have now reached the 50 games mark and - with the FAI Cup final, the away leg at Zenit and the home tie with AZ - they come into this game on the back of three defeats.

    The reward for progression however is history, a possible tie with the likes of Manchester United and their season reaching the 11-month mark in February.

    It's going to be a hugely hostile atmosphere in Tel-Aviv and kick-off is now less than 45 minutes away!

  • 17:28

    Dundalk will not only be relying on their own actions tonight but also that of Zenit. If the Russians lose to AZ Alkmaar - who beat Dundalk last time out in Tallaght - then the Irish side will be out.  


    However, I have some encouraging news for you on that front. Zenit look to have fielded their strongest possible team in their last match before winter break and seem to be determined to finish the group with six wins out of six.


    With just over half an hour to go until kick-off we have plenty of pre-match reading for you.


    You can find Emmet Malone's match preview here: Dundalk focus on goals as qualification hangs in balance.


    Meanwhile, Stephen Kenny was named Manager of the Year last night and, in his column, Emmet Malone reflects on the Dubliner's fantastic season: Stephen Kenny's outstanding achievements correctly recognised.

  • 17:47

    Will this be one step too far for Dundalk?

    After such a long season you'd have to think so. But this team has defied expectations on so many occasions this year. While the fact that Maccabi also must win to advance will make things tougher, Dundalk have proved to themselves already that they can beat this team.  

    Sit tight, this could be another historic night in League of Ireland history!

  • 17:53
    The teams are in the tunnel and about to take to the pitch. Here we go!
  • 18:02
    1 min: After a minute's applause for the victims of the Chapecoense air tragedy, the action is underway at the Netanya Stadium!  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 0 Dundalk 0)
  • 18:04

    2 mins: Dundalk take possession straight away and Dane Massey finds David McMillan who dropped into space on the left 40 yards from goal. He's fouled from behind and Dundalk get the free-kick.  

    Horgan crosses into the area but it fails to beat the first man and Maccabi can clear.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 0 Dundalk 0)

  • 18:08
    5 mins: Chance for Maccabi! Omri Ben Harush picked the ball up 35 yards from goal and split the gap between Andy Boyle and Massey with a beautiful pass which found Vidar Orn Kjartansson. He took it to the byline before delivering a good low ball into the front post area but the ever reliable Chris Shields was there to clear the danger.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 0 Dundalk 0)
  • 18:11

    9 mins: I'm afraid I am the bringer of bad news. AZ Alkmaar has taken a 1-0 lead against Zenit. Remember, a win for the Dutch team would put them through and renders this game meaningless.

    And things almost went from bad to worse as Kjartansson found Ben Haim making the diagonal run in behind the Dundalk defence. The striker rounded Gary Rogers and finished but was ruled offside.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 0 Dundalk 0)

  • 18:15

    13 mins: After a spell of Maccabi pressure, Dundalk are beginning to get back into it and win a free-kick in a good position. Eyal Golasa is shown a yellow card for the tackle on Horgan but the Dundalk man's delivery from the free-kick is easily cleared once again.

    Maccabi break and win a corner which Gartland can only direct behind for another. A beautiful ball from Haris Medunjanin forces Rogers to palm away and McMillan to clear for another corner. The third delivery isn't as good and Rogers can rise to claim.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 0 Dundalk 0)

  • 18:19
    17 mins: Chance for Dundalk! McEleney picked the ball up in a pocket of space on the right, halfway up the pitch. For the first time tonight he managed to slip Gannon in behind down the wing and the full-back crossed first time but his delivery was just inches too high for McMialln who had made the near post run.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 0 Dundalk 0)
  • 18:21

    19 mins: Here's a chance for Maccabi. Finn came in late and from behind on Golasa in a good position 25 yards out. Medunjanin stands over it...(Maccabi Tel-Aviv 0 Dundalk 0)

  • 18:21
    20 mins: And hits the wall. Dundalk are able to clear the danger.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 0 Dundalk 0)
  • 18:22
    20 mins: Penalty for Maccabi!
  • 18:23

    GOAL FOR MACCABI TEL-AVIV! (BEN CHAIM, 21')


    MACCABI 1 DUNDALK 0

  • 18:26

    24 mins: That is a truly, truly dreadful goal to give away. With the ball at his feet and under no pressure on the edge of the box, Gartland seemed to get his movement mixed up and his pass out towards Massey was easily intercepted by Ben Chaim. Kjartansson picked it up and tried to go around Rogers but was hacked down for a certain spot kick.


    The Dundalk goalkeeper received a booking and Ben Chaim slotted home into the bottom left corner.


    Maccabi look the much better team so far and Dundalk are struggling to put any sort of move together.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1 Dundalk 0)

  • 18:29

    GOAL FOR DUNDALK! (DASA O.G, 27')


    MACCABI TEL-AVIV 1 DUNDALK 1!

  • 18:32

    29 mins: What a reply that is from Dundalk! Robbie Benson picked it up in the middle and drove at the Maccabi defence before finding McEleney. He turned and slipped a superb pass through the gap between left-back and centre-back, into the path of the on-rushing Shields. He played a low hard cross into the six yard box which Eli Dasa was forced to bundle into his net, under pressure from Horgan.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1 Dundalk 1)

  • 18:32
  • 18:34
    32 mins: Looking back on the goal, Horgan actually missed the ball as he attempted to tap in from close range but luckily Dasa was right behind him and couldn't get his foot out of the way.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1 Dundalk 1)
  • 18:37

    33 mins: After a foul on McEleney reminiscent of his Bolton days, Tal Ben Haim is penalised and Dundalk get a free-kick in a central position 40 yards out. Benson attempts to chip it into the middle but it's easily cleared.


    Maccabi break quickly - as they have done so many times - and Boyle is forced to get a block in and divert the ball behind for a corner. Another excellent cross from Medunjanin causes havoc in the Dundalk box but the referee blows for a foul on Rogers and the visitors are allowed some respite.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1 Dundalk 1)

  • 18:39
    35 mins: A long ball forward is not dealt with by Ben Haim, his poor header landing right in the path of McMillan. The Dundalk man controlled and burst into the box but the Maccabi defender did well to get back and muscle him out of the way. The referee waves away the penalty claims and Maccabi can clear again. Dundalk have come right back into this the last 10 minutes or so.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1 Dundalk 1)
  • 18:40

    GOAL FOR MACCABI! (MIHA, 38')


    MACCABI 2 DUNDALK 1!

  • 18:43

    40 mins: Once again it's a Dundalk mistake that leads to the Maccabi goal and perhaps that tiredness is creeping into the Lilywhites game more and more now. After losing it in the midfield, Maccabi break and Golasa finds Ben Chaim on the left wing.  


    He cut inside onto his right foot before slipping a lovely right-footed reverse pass into the path of Miha. The captain took a touch with his right foot before firing a low left-footed shot back across Rogers and into the bottom corner. The Dundalk 'keeper should have done so much better however. He got two hands to it but couldn't get enough behind to keep the ball out as it bobbled into the net. Once again Dundalk have a mountain to climb.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)

  • 18:45
    42 mins: And the bad news keeps on coming. AZ have gone 2-0 up against Zenit and look well on their way to qualifying ahead of both of these teams.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)
  • 18:50

    HALF TIME: MACCABI TEL-AVIV 2 DUNDALK 1

    AZ ALKMAAR 2 ZENIT ST PETERSBURG 0

  • 18:54

    Quite simply, Dundalk need a miracle at this stage to qualify for the last 32.  


    Even if they manage to turn this around and claim an unlikely win, they need Zenit to come back from 2-0 down against AZ in a game that means nothing to the Russian side.


    It's looking highly, highly unlikely at this stage. However, Dundalk are playing for more than that.


    Firstly, if they get a draw this evening they will most likely be seeded for Europe next season and, if they win, they will definitely be seeded. That's a big deal, no mistake about it.


    They are also playing for the pride of finishing off this magnificent season in style.


    It's been a tough opening half and Maccabi are fully deserving of their lead, despite the fact that Dundalk gifted them both goals.  

  • 19:04

    46 mins: We're back underway at the Netanya Stadium. Can Dundalk turn things around and at least go out in style?

    They'll be doing so without Brian Gartland who has been replaced by Paddy Barrett.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)

  • 19:09

    49 mins: In Ukraine, Henrikh Mkhitaryan has just scored a superb solo goal to put Manchester United 1-0 up in their clash with Zorya.

    Back In Israel Maccabi have found the net again thanks to Golasa but it's ruled out after Kjartansson is adjudged to have pushed Barrett in the back when the long throw came in. (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)

  • 19:14

    54 mins: The game is beginning to open up now as Dundalk commit five forward but lose it on the edge of the box and Maccabi break. It was worked to Ben Chaim who wriggled his way into the box but his shot was blocked by a superb tackle from Gannon.

    The Dundalk man has stayed down and looks to be in a lot of pain.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)

  • 19:18

    58 mins: Maccabi are beginning to dominate now. Gannon is back up but looks to be still struggling and he nearly took down Ben Chaim as the winger burst into the box yet again and won a corner.  

    Medunjanin's cross into the box is another dangerous one and is met by the head of Tibi but his effort flies over.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)

  • 19:19

    60 mins: Do we have some hope?!

    Giuliano has just pulled one back for Zenit and it's now 2-1 to AZ! Is there about to be a miraculous simultaneous comeback in Israel and Holland?  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)

  • 19:23
    64 mins: Maccabi continue to push as Miha's long range shot is well blocked by Boyle on the edge of the box. It's hard to see where a Dundalk goal can come from here, bar a counter attack. We could be seeing Ciarán Kilduff soon for exactly that event.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:26
    67 mins: Another lovely move from Maccabi almost pays off. Golasa nutmegged Barrett out on the left and slid Ben Chaim in. The winger cut inside, as he's done on so many occasions, and fired a shot towards Rogers front post but the Dundalk goalkeeper managed to get his chest behind it and divert the danger.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:28

    69 mins: Sean Gannon finally succumbs to his injury and is replaced by Stephen O'Donnell.

    That faint, flickering, glimmer of hope that was restored when Zenit pulled a goal back against AZ has now been well and truly extinguished as the Dutch team have now gone 3-1 up.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)

  • 19:30

    70 mins: What a chance for Maccabi! The superb Ben Chaim cut in from the left once again and played a one-two with Kjartansson on the edge of the box. The winger got it back in behind the Dundalk defence and dinked a cross over Rogers to the incoming Golasa who was faced with an open goal but lost all composure and blasted it wide. What a let-off for Dundalk.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)

  • 19:33
    74 mins: Dundalk are living on the edge now as Maccabi continue to attack and attack. The Irish players look tired, to be truthful. And unsurprisingly so. It's unfortunate that this incredible adventure is rather fizzling out.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:34
    75 mins: Daryl Horgan receives a yellow card for a frustrated kick-out at Golasa.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:36
    77 mins: Medunjanin tries his luck from a long way out with a low, left-footed shot but Rogers dives low and gets his hands behind it.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:40

    80 mins: Ciarán Kilduff comes on for McEleney in Kenny's final throw of the dice.

    In Alkmaar Zenit have pulled one back to make it 3-2 to AZ but it's all too little, too late for Dundalk you fear.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)

  • 19:45
    86 mins: This game is very much petering out now unfortunately as both sides see their European hopes for this season come to an end.  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:47
    87 mins: Chance for Dundalk! Horgan sped down the left, leaving Dasa in his wake before squaring across the six yard box. It beat Kilduff for pace but McMillan managed to get to it at the back post with the goal at his mercy. However, it was just too far of a stretch and he couldn't get it under control to finish. What a chance!  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:51
    90+1 mins: We'll have four minutes of added time as Dundalk force a corner...(Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:52
    90+3 mins: What a chance for Dundalk! A superb cross from Horgan was met at the front post by Kilduff with the goalkeeper in no-man's land. The striker was only two yards out with an open goal but somehow he manages to head it wide!  (Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:54

    FULL TIME: MACCABI TEL-AVIV 2 DUNDALK 1

    DUNDALK'S EUROPEAN RUN COMES TO AN END!

  • 20:00

    So that's it for Dundalk after a truly remarkable season which has taken them from Belarus to Poland, Russia to Holland and, finally, to Israel.

    In the end the result tonight proved irrelevant as AZ did enough at home to Zenit to ensure they progress to the last 32.

    However, Dundalk deserves immense credit not just for what they have done but for the marker they have now set for Irish teams in Europe.

    With that I shall leave you. Thanks for reading and stay tuned to www.irishtimes.com/sport for our match report from Tel-Aviv as well as Emmet Malone's column on a groundbreaking season for the Lilywhites. Bye!