Our prediction for this Europa Conference League match:
Aris and Maccabi Tel Aviv take on each other at Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium in what is expected to be one of the most entertaining games of Thursday’s program in the Conference League. The Yellow-Blacks failed to impress in a 2-0 loss to Maccabi a week ago, but they are still seen as favourites to win the return leg. With the likes of Andre Gray, Cheick Doukoure, and Juan Iturbe in the starting XI, Aris are surely capable of beating Maccabi in front of home fans, but they will have to prove their worth on the field.
The Israelis, on the other hand, are likely to adopt a defence-minded approach in the second leg, but preventing Aris from scoring in Thessaloniki is easier said than done. Since the Greeks have turned their Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium into a real fortress, home win should definitely be considered. Former PSV striker Eran Zahavi will be one of the men to watch in the away side.
Highlighted Player (Tal Ben Haim):
Tal Ben Haim is an experienced football player who is a product of Maccabi Tel Aviv youth school. He made 85 league appearances for Maccabi at senior level and in 2004 he moved to England, signing a three-year contract with Bolton Wanderers.
Ben Haim scored one goal in 88 league games for the English outfit and in 2007 he moved to Chelsea. After making just 13 league appearances for the Blues in the 2007/2008 season, he moved to Manchester City in the summer of 2008 for a fee of £5 million.
He made his Man City debut (league) against in a 4-2 loss to Aston Villa on 17 August, 2008. During his spell at the “island” he played for the likes of Sunderland, Portsmouth, West Ham and QPR as well and in 2013 he moved to Belgium, signing a deal with Standard Liege. At the end of the 2013/2014 season The Israeli defender returned to England as he signed a deal with Charlton Athletic. Ben Haim re-joined his hometown club Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2015.
Highlighted Team (Maccabi Tel Aviv):
Maccabi Tel Aviv are the oldest and probably the biggest clubs in Israel. The club was founded in 1906 and they have been playing an important role in the Israeli League ever since. In 2015 Maccabi won their 21st trophy in the national championship and the same season they clinched their 23rd Israeli Cup title.
The club’s fiercest rivals are Hapoel Tel-Aviv and they welcome their opponents at Netanya Stadium. The capacity of the venue is 13 610. The likes of Beitar Jerusalem Hapoel Be’er Sheva and Maccabi Haifa are considered Maccabi Tel Aviv’s bitter rivals as well. In 1969 the club won the AFC Champions League and they repeated the success two years later, beating Aliyat Al-Shorta in the final.
The likes of Jordi Cruyff, Paulo Sousa, Rade Prica, Moanes Dabour and Vincent Enyeama are the high-profile footballers who were part of the team in the past. The colour of Maccabi’s home kit is yellow and blue.