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HAPPY HAPOEL FOR JUANDE

Posted on 8 November 2007  - 12:00

Juande Ramos felt our quickfire double in the first half paved the way for a comfortable win against Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel on Thursday night.

Juande Ramos felt our quickfire double in the first half paved the way for a comfortable win against Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel on Thursday night.

After a cagey start to this UEFA Cup group match in the Bloomfield Stadium, Robbie Keane's sweetly struck volley from Steed Malbranque's cross opened the scoring after 26 minutes and five minutes later, Malbranque again provided the ammunition for Dimitar Berbatov to head home from close range.

The goals not only provided the platform for a commanding display but also knocked the stuffing out of the home side - previously unbeaten in six home European games.

Hapoel TA had defender Gal Shish sent off for two yellow cards - two rash challenges on Aaron Lennon - at the start of the second half and the only disappointing aspect of the night was that we were unable to add to our tally. Darren Bent went closest when he struck the post late on.

Nevertheless, it was our first away win of the season and put us back on track in the UEFA Cup after losing our group opener against Getafe.

"It was a typical UEFA Cup game," reflected Head Coach Juande afterwards. "Winning was very important for us after losing the first game.

"The two goals were important and gave us confidence. After that, our play was more relaxed. The players wanted to give the maximum effort and we created a lot of opportunities. I was very pleased with the attitude and the performance of the players.

"We didn't play as well as we can but I think we will have a lot of confidence going into Sunday's match against Wigan."