Maccabi Tel Aviv were undoubtedly the underdogs when they travelled to Switzerland to face the national champions Basel last week in the first leg of this tie.
But the visitors stunned them with a first half goal to put them in front. A Basel penalty levelled things up 8 minutes later, and then Basel winger Embolo put them in front 2 minutes from time. But things weren’t over yet, Eran Zahavi got an equaliser in the 6th minute of injury time to take a crucial draw into the home leg.
I’d like to say that Maccabi Tel Aviv deserved this draw, but they really didn’t. Basel had a huge 73% of possession in the match, and their 18 shots on goal dwarfed Tel Aviv’s 2 attempts.
This put an end to Basel’s 10 match winning streak, but they soon put themselves back in the driving seat when they beat Lugano 3-1 on Saturday.
Maccabi Tel Aviv haven’t enjoyed the same run of form as the Swiss champions. Their domestic win against Bnei Sakhnin was only their 2nd in the last 5 matches in all competitions.
Basel were extremely unfortunate not to get the victory against Tel Aviv on Wednesday, and I can’t see them failing to win again considering their absolute dominance in the first leg.
Maccabi Tel Aviv haven’t been great at home recently either. They have lost 4 of their previous 6 matches on home turf in all competitions, although they have won the other 2.
The odds of them qualifying have obviously lengthened considerably after the first leg, so I think backing Basel to qualify at evens are incredibly good value.
I think Basel will take the victory in normal time as well, and odds of 17/2 for Basel to win 2-1 look pretty good value to me too.