Hapoel Tel Aviv beats Benfica 3-0

Published Nov. 24, 2010 10:15 p.m. ET

Hapoel Tel Aviv secured its first ever victory in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday with a 3-0 win over Benfica.

Eran Zahavi scored twice and Douglas da Silva got the other for Hapoel, which now has four points but stays bottom of Group B, two points behind Benfica, with one game to play.

Benfica was by far the stronger side at the start of the game, but the Israelis managed to soak up the pressure and score on the counter attack.

Zahavi broke the deadlock in the 24th minute, and Da Silva added the second in the 74th before Zahavi completed the scoring in stoppage time.

It was the first win for an Israeli team in the Champions League group stage since Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Ajax in 2004.

Benfica made a dominant start, winning three corners in quick succession in the opening five minutes, culminating in a stinging shot from Javier Saviola which forced a save from keeper Vincent Enyeama.

The pressure continued from the Portuguese side, but Eli Gutman's team was not to be outdone and took a surprise lead when Zahavi headed home a free kick by Shay Abutbul.


Benfica poured forward in search of an equalizer for the remainder of the first half. But the Portuguese were unable to create any meaningful chances and Hapoel grew in confidence, holding firm at the back.

Jorge Jesus's side continued to pile on the pressure after the restart and defender Da Silva had to head the ball off the line in the 53rd minute to prevent Javi Garcia from scoring from a corner.

Garcia had an even better chance to score in the 65th minute, but inexplicably headed wide of the goal from only a few meters out.

As the minutes ticked away the excitement grew among the 13,000 fans packed into Bloomfield Stadium, eager to witness a slice of club history in the making.

That excitement only increased when Da Silva turned in a corner with 17 minutes to go and any hopes Benfica had of salvaging anything from the game were dashed in the first minute of injury time. Zahavi was left unmarked and had time to calmly smash the ball past goalkeeper Roberto to complete the victory.