Champions League - Hapoel out after Schalke draw

Tue, 02 Nov 21:43:00 2010

Hapoel Tel Aviv saw their hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout stages extinguished after they could only manage a 0-0 draw at home to German side Schalke.

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The Israeli side struggled to create chances, the best of them falling to Eran Zahavi who fired straight at Manuel Neuer from 10-yards out.

In the second half, Eli Gutman's men tried to find a winner with Yossi Shivhon forcing an incredible save from Neuer with a near-post header.

Shivhon again went close in the final 15 minutes, but it was not to be for Hapoel, who must now compete for a place in the Europe League.

Schalke were the first team to threaten in the game, Jose Manuel Jurado whipping in a dangerous low cross which narrowly evaded both Raul and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

After a nervy start, the hosts then attempted to force the issue, creating a couple of chances in quick succession after 17 minutes.

The first fell to Toto Tamuz, who showed great strength to hold off several challenges before firing a low, right-footed shot on goal which Neuer did well to palm away.

Seconds later, it was Ben Sahar who found himself in space after making a burst down the left wing. He took an age to decide whether to shoot or square for Tamuz, eventually being closed down and side-footing a tame effort into the arms of Neuer.

The home team continued to press and, 10 minutes later, Hapoel should have been in front.

The chance came after more great work from Tamuz, who found Sahar with a pinpoint cross into the box. The former Chelsea striker headed the ball into the path of Zahavi, who could only hit his half-volley straight at the Schalke goalkeeper from 10-yards out.

The closest Schalke came to a goal in the first half was a header from Raul, who guided an excellent free kick from Rakitic towards the bottom corner only to see Vincent Enyeama make a full-length save.

Hapoel attempted to find the breakthrough after the restart, substitute Yossi Shivhon twice coming close after being introduced on the hour mark. His first meaningful contribution was to connect with a corner from the left, guiding a powerful header towards the far post and forcing a world-class save from the impressive Neuer.

Shivhon then displayed skill and balance to glide past several Schalke defenders and create an opening for himself, 12 yards from goal. With space and time to pick his spot, he screwed his shot a yard wide of the post.

In desperation, Hapoel had several penalty appeals in the closing stages, but the referee correctly waved them away.

Schalke substitute Edu had a couple of chances to clinch it for the visitors in the final moments, but twice he was unable to convert close-range headers.

The point keeps the Germans on track for the last 16, while Hapoel must now battle for third place and a Europa League berth.

Tom McGowan / Eurosport

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