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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019
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IT ALL BOILS down to this then. After producing several unforgettable moments already this season, Dundalk are looking to create one more this evening as their participation in the Europa League hangs in the balance.

Ireland’s top club have travelled to Israel to face Maccabi Tel-Aviv and there’s a place in the knockout stages up for grabs with the Lilywhites, their latest opponents and AZ Alkmaar all chasing the runners-up spot in Group D, while Zenit St Petersburg already have top spot wrapped up.

Put simply, Dundalk are hoping Zenit can do them a favour by beating AZ in Holland as it will mean a score draw is enough to send them through. If Zenit and AZ are level at the final whistle, Stephen Kenny’s men must win at the Netanya Stadium.

We’ll keep you up-to-date with the two matches, which both kick off at 6pm.

“There is permutations that a score draw could put us through if Zenit win their match but we must not think like that,”  Stephen Kenny said this week. “We can’t think like that.

It’s a win or nothing for me and I only see it as a win or nothing game for us. Maccabi are huge favourites with their record. They have been in the Champions League and have 17 international players but we have achieved special things over the last few years and we must strive to go one further.”

Read more pre-match quotes from the Dundalk boss and as well as my preview here.

The teams are in and Chris Shields starts in midfield after recovering from injury while captain Stephen O’Donnell is on the bench meaning Andy Boyle skippers the side.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv: Rajkovic; Dasa, Ben Haim, Tibi, Ben Harush; Igiebor, Golasa, Medunjanin; Miha, Kjartansson, Ben Chaim (c).

 

Dundalk: Rogers; Gannon, Gartland, Boyle (c), Massey; Shields; McEleney, Finn, Benson, Horgan; McMillan.

When Dundalk last faced Maccabi at Tallaght Stadium back in September, Ciaran Kilduff came off the bench to score the winner 18 minutes from full-time. The striker is back among the substitutes tonight as David McMillan has been recalled to the starting XI.

Source: sportmen/YouTube

Two of Dundalk’s best players, Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan, are expected to make moves to England in coming weeks with Preston North End rumoured to be close to sealing deals for the pair.

So this could be their final game in the white and black of The Town.

Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan Source: Mikhail Kireev/INPHO

Flag 1Mins

KICK-OFF - After a moment’s applause for the Chapecoense air disaster, we’re underway. Dundalk, who tip-off, are in their home kit of white and black, the home side wearing yellow with a blue trim.

2Mins

McMillan is clipped by Igiebor and Dundalk have an early free-kick in a decent area. It’s sent towards Gartland but Maccabi snuff out the danger.

4Mins

Gartland attempts to put McMillan in over the top but the ball is too long and runs all the way through to Rajkovic.

Maccabi then attack down the right with Kjartansson, who cuts the ball back to the six-yard box. Shields gets back to make a timely intervention, however.

7Mins

Bosnian international Medunjanin attempts a shot from long distance. It’s on target but hit tamely and Rogers makes an easy save.

7Mins

OFFSIDE – Maccabi have the ball in the back of the net through Ben-Chaim, but the captain had trailed offside before scoring.

8Mins

Bad news coming through from Holland, as AZ have taken a seventh-minute lead against Zenit through Ben Rienstra.

A win for the Dutch side would ensure Dundalk’s elimination.

11Mins

YELLOW CARD – Maccabi midfielder Golasa chops down Horgan and goes into the referee’s book. The resulting free-kick comes to nothing.

13Mins

SAVE! Miha cuts inside onto his left and lets fly. Rogers gets a palm to the strike to stick it behind for a corner. That set piece causes a few problems and Maccabi win a second corner, before the ball eventually goes wide. The home side have looked lively here.

16Mins

That’s better from Dundalk. After patient build-up play, Shields finds the run of Gannon down the right. The full-back crosses early but it’s headed away by Dasa.

18Mins

Maccabi win a free-kick 35 yards out after Finn catches Golasa. It’s drilled straight into the wall though.

19Mins

PENALTY TO MACCABI…

Flag 21Mins

GOAL! Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1-0 Dundalk (Ben Chaim)

Disaster for Dundalk. A mistake from Gartland results in Rogers bringing down Medunjanin and Ben Chaim steps up to score from the spot.

Flag 27Mins

GOAL! Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1-1 Dundalk (Eli Dasa own goal) 

Super response from the visitors! Horgan is involved in the build-up and the ball is worked out to Shields, who drills it across Maccabi’s goalmouth. Horgan looks set to score, but Dasa gets the last touch.

A vital goal.

35Mins

Both sides going for it now and Maccabi win a corner from Kjartansson’s deflected shot. There’s uncertainty when it comes in and Rogers finally gets the ball in his arms but the referee has given a free-kick to Dundalk anyway.

Flag 38Mins

GOAL! Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2-1 Dundalk (Dor Miha) 

Maccabi restore their advantage. Ben Chaim plays in Miha, whose strike goes under the hands of Rogers. Disappointing from the Dundalk number one.

43Mins

Oh dear, AZ are now 2-0 up on Zenit. It’s not looking good at all for Dundalk as it stands.

Flag 47Mins

Half-time:

Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2-1 Dundalk
AZ Alkmaar 2-0 Zenit St Petersburg

Israel Europa League Soccer Maccabi goalscorer Dor Miha. Source: Ariel Schalit

Flag 47Mins

WE’RE BACK – One change to tell you about. Gartland is off with Paddy Barrett taking his place. A huge 45 minutes for Dundalk.

45Mins

DISALLOWED GOAL – Maccabi appear to have scored through Miha but play is brought back and Dundalk are rewarded a free-kick for a push on Barrett.

55Mins

Dundalk full-back Sean Gannon appears to be in some discomfort and is receiving treatment.

66Mins

Ben Chaim causing more problem and drills the ball at the chest of Rogers.

67Mins

AZ have gone 3-1 up on Zenit. The dream is slipping away.

70Mins

THAT’S A SITTER – Ben Chaim does brilliantly yet again before Miha slices high and wide with the goal at his mercy.

75Mins

BOOKING – Horgan kicks out at Golasa and picks up the yellow.

81Mins

ANOTHER CHANGE – Kilduff, so often the goal hero during this campaign, is on for McEleney.

83Mins

Wait, Zenit have pulled one back in Holland. They now trail 3-2 with ten minutes on the clock. Stranger things have happened…

87Mins

BIG CHANCE! Horgan cuts the ball back but McMillan can’t convert at the back post.

92Mins

CLOSE – Dundalk are finishing with late push and Kilduff has just headed wide. You’d expect him to put that in.

Flag 90Mins

Full-time:

Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2-1 Dundalk 
AZ Alkmaar 3-2 Zenit St Petersburg 

Dundalk are out of the Europa League.

About the author:

Ben Blake

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