October 25, 2012
Plzen looking good
Viktoria Plzen moved five points clear in second place in UEFA Europa League Group B with a tight 2-1 win over 10-man Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel.
The Czech side had to fight back from behind after Hanan Maman's early opener, with Pavel Horvath and Frantisek Rajtoral putting the visitors in front before Hapoel's Iyad Khutaba was sent off late on.
The home side made a better start with Tal Ben Haim drilling an 11th minute shot against the post from 12 yards - and it was little surprise when they went ahead on 19 minutes when Maman headed home a Roei Gordana corner.
Gordana almost put the hosts further ahead three minutes later when he was denied by a fantastic save from Plzen goalkeeper Matus Kozacik, then Ben Haim headed just wide from a Maman corner.
Plzen rallied towards the end of the first half with Daniel Kolar heading a 43rd minute chance against the post, and they equalised in first half injury time when Horvath converted a Radim Reznik cross from the right.
Plzen went ahead in the 54th minute when Horvath's free-kick into the box was only half-cleared by Eliran Danin in the box, and Rajtoral responded with a low header from six yards out.
Michal Duris forced a good save out of Hapoel keeper Edel Apoula as Plzen pressed for a third, and the hosts' chances became slimmer after 64 minutes when Khutaba was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
But Hapoel still had their chances and almost equalised on 70 minutes when substitute Salim Toama's curling free-kick from 35 yards struck the post.