Anthony Nwakaeme and John Ogu’s ambition to guide Hapoel Be’er Sheva to the Play-off round of the UEFA Champions League survived a scare after home side Ludogorets raced to a 3-0 lead with 34 minutes to play on Wednesday night.
Nwakaeme provided an assist but Ogu missed a penalty in the dying minutes of the game on a difficult night at the Ludogorets Arena in Razgrad.
— John Ogu (@ogujohnugo) August 2, 2017
The Ligat HA’al champions carried a 2-0 advantage into the second leg, but it seemed they were destined to throw it all away and march down to the second tier Europa League after just 56 minutes.
Brazilian Midfielder, Wanderson put the hosts ahead with just 9 minutes played.
Twenty-four minutes later, he scored his second of the night. With a 2-0 first half lead the game was poised – on aggregate 2-2 – and there was no saying the home side wouldn’t net a third goal.
They didn’t have to wait long in the second half to get a proper cushion.
The goal came 11 minutes after proceedings resumed in Razgrad as another Brazilian, Marcelinho fired from close range.
But Hapoel showed they had one more kick left in them and Nwakaeme was involved once again for Hapoel.
The forward ran past two Ludogorets players to lay a pass in the path of Mohammad Ghadir, whose shot deflected off a defender to drop delightfully into the back of the net.
Midfielder, John Ogu had the chance to score for the visitors from the spot, but he fired over the bar on the 86th minute.
With time ticking away Hapoel’s 21-year-old forward, Michael Ohana was booked; a second time, and his sending off mounted more pressure on the visitors but Barak Bakhar’s side held on to their narrow advantage.
In their frustration Ludogorets also had a man sent off. Goal scorer, Marcelinho was shown a straight red for hitting an opponent in the face.
All their (Ludogorets) efforts came to naught on the night as the deed was already done and The Camels emerged from the battle, bruised and battered but had won the war.
The draw for the play-off round will hold this Friday in Nyon, Switzerland with 10 teams vying for spots in the UCL group stage.