Maccabi Tel-Aviv

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    Dundalk's European campaign comes to an end

    Irish champions Dundalk saw their Europa League campaign come to an end with a 2-1 loss to Maccabi Tel Aviv in Netanya.Dundalk had gone into the game with a chance of progressing from Group D but a penalty from Tal Ben Chaim and strike by Dor Micha, both after errors by Gary Rogers, condemned them to defeat.Ultimately the result was academic as AZ Alkmaar's victory over Zenit St Petersburg meant progress for either side was impossible, but Dundalk again did themselves proud in what has been a strong European campaign.Stephen Kenny's men did get on the scoresheet when Eli Dasa turned into his own net to make the score 1-1 midway through the first half.But the Irish side could not get back into the game, despite some late pressure, after falling behind for a second time.They left the field disappointed after Ciaran Kilduff put a header wide in injury but they will eventually reflect on a good campaign, in which they became the first Irish side to earn group points in the competition.The dangerous Miha had an early chance for Maccabi but did not trouble goalkeeper Rogers from distance.Dundalk were caught out after 19 minutes when Maccabi played their way into the box and Rogers tripped Haris Medunjanin.Rogers may have felt hard done by, as Medunjanin appeared to have lost control of the ball as he attempted to go round the keeper and contact was slight, but the decision was not strongly contested. Ben Chaim made no mistake from the spot.Dundalk spent most of the early stages on the back foot but responded to Maccabi's opener by pulling level after 27 minutes.Patrick McEleney fed Chris Shields on the right and the ball into the box was inviting for Daryl Horgan. Horgan was unable to make clean contact as he slid in in front of Predrag Rajkovic but Dasa was wrong-footed and bundled the ball into his own net.Dundalk survived a scare when Shields almost sliced the ball into his net just before the half-hour mark but Rogers was punished for an error eight minutes later.Maccabi found space on the right and Ben Chaim fed Miha in the box. The Maccabi skipper fired a low shot through the legs of Brian Gartland and although Rogers may have been unsighted, he will have been disappointed to let the ball squirm through his grasp.Miha thought he had a second when he put the ball in the net early in the second half but his effort was disallowed for a push.The Irish side had another reprieve when Ben Chaim jinked through the area but Miha blazed wide from close range.Dundalk enjoyed some possession late on and might have snatched a draw when Kilduff got ahead of Rajkovic at a corner but could not direct his header on target.
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