Chelsea and Maccabi Tel Aviv supporters were greeted with the usual racist scenes before and after last night’s UEFA Champions League match at Stamford Bridge which the Israeli side lost 4-0.
Maccabi Tel Aviv were never really in it as the step up to Champions League football after 11 absent years proved beyond them.
However, their 3000 traveling supporters, the Fanatics, jumped up and down and sang throughout the game. And they had a chance to celebrate when Eden Hazard blasted his penalty over the bar when the score was still 0-0.
Before the game about 8 to 10 anti-Israel activists outside the ground welcomed refugees but not the players of the Israeli side. And after the game a more aggressive group screamed for the destruction of Israel. The protests had little impact on the fans of both sides apart from being a little irritating.
The Chelsea programme had an interview with ex-Maccabi Tel Aviv player, now Chelsea’s Technical Director, Michael Emenalo who had good things to say about the Israeli club and Tel Aviv:
“Tel Aviv exceeded my expectations in every possible way. A lot of cities claim to be fun, but Tel Aviv was definitely a fun city. From a football point of view, the atmosphere was good and it got better when Maccabi played Hapoel Tel Aviv. You really feel the fever when they play each other in the Bloomfield Stadium, which they now share.”
Tough games against Dynamo Kiev and Porto are on the horizon and the return game against Chelsea in Israel is on November 24th.
The Fanatics will be enjoying their away days but it’s hard to see Maccabi Tel Aviv qualifying for the next stage.