Mon, 25 Jan 2021

JERUSALEM, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Israeli champions Maccabi Tel Aviv scraped a home 1-1 draw against the Spanish side Villarreal at Group I of the UEFA Europa League.

The match was played behind closed doors at Bloomfield Stadium in Jaffa, the southern part of the coastal Tel Aviv-Jaffa conurbation.

The visitors dominated the first half, but Maccabi's goalkeeper Daniel Tenenbaum made two saves, preventing striker Carlos Bacca from scoring.

However, Villarreal took the lead just before halftime, through Alex Baena, after receiving an accurate Bacca pass.

Maccabi evened the score in the 47th minute, with Dor Peretz's header that found Aleksandar Pesic, who made it 1-1.

Pesic could have completed a turnover but missed a sure chance in the 59th minute.

Villarreal was close to a winning goal at the 73rd minute, as the ball hit the post from a shot by Gerard Moreno.

Maccabi's Spanish defender Enric Saborit was sent off in the 89th minute after slapping Ruben Pena.

Goalkeeper Tenenbaum made an impressive save in the 93rd minute from a header by Francis Coquelin, securing the important point for Maccabi.

After matchday 4, Villarreal tops the four-team group with 10 points, followed by Maccabi on seven.

Turkish side Sivasspor, who gained a 3-2 away win in Azerbaijan against Qarabag, is in third place with six points, while the Azeris remained fourth without points.

Maccabi will play its next match in Azerbaijan against Qarabag, while Villarreal will be hosted by Sivasspor - with both matches to be played on December 3.

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