Cyprus Mail
Sport

Pardo the penalty hero for APOEL in Europa League stalemate

Substitute Barach Yitzhaki missed a last-gasp penalty for Maccabi Tel-Aviv as they endured a forgettable Europa League stalemate at home to APOEL.
Three points would have been a generous haul for either side in a disappointing Group F opener, but Yitzhaki had the chance to win it two minutes into added time only for APOEL goalkeeper Pardo to make the all important save for the Cyprus champions who escaped the Israeli city with a draw
It was virtually the last action of the match and sent both sides back to the drawing board with work to be done.
The sides traded a series of early corners without success and after the last of those had been cleared the pace slowed significantly.
Another corner, from Maharan Radi, caused Urko a moment of concern in the 21st minute but his punch was enough to clear the danger.
The Israeli side were forced into a tactical change just before the break when the injured Jose Manuel Mane was replaced by Omri Ben Haroush.
Haroush may not have been directly involved but within moments of his arrival the first serious attempt on goal came through Eran Zahavi. Even that sailed over the crossbar.
The Greek side’s first attempt was fully 54 minutes in the making, but Mario Sergio’s 12-yard strike did at least require Juan Pablo to make the save.
Yitzhaki was introduced in the 69th minute and wasted little time in making his presence known – rising to meet Haroush’s corner but just failing to hit the target.
He then stepped up for a spot-kick two minutes into stoppage time following Joao Guilherme’s foul on Zahavi, but he saw his low effort saved by Pardo.

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