Maccabi Haifa can make history tomorrow (Tuesday, 22:00) when it hosts Young Boys of Switzerland at the Wandekorf Stadium in Bern if it qualifies for the Champions League for the second time in a row, a feat no Israeli team has done before.
Coach Masai is undecided about the lineup, but his lineup is actually locked on three brakes. The absence of left-back Pierre Cornu will result in Dego placing Dolev Haziza on the left sideline. The question that remains open revolves around Daniel Sundgren's position.
If he plays as a right-back, Lorenzo Simic may make his debut. If Sundgren plays alongside Abdoulaye Seck and Sean Goldberg as a third defender, Dego will put a fast player on the right wing, such as Anan Khalili.
"We know we're ahead of something that could be historic," Dego said ahead of the game, adding: "It's less of a concern because we have 90 minutes of real fighting. A week ago we were two games before the group stage, now it's one game, a final in every respect. We come into the game against a very strong opponent, very homely, but with the belief to come from the first minute to win."
Anan Halaili. May open, photo: Maccabi Haifa, Reuven Cohen
On his team encountering a synthetic surface, which they are not used to, the coach said: "It's something that doesn't worry me. We are not used to it, but I told the players that there are no excuses. It's one game, even if we were playing here on sand, we have to do the job and go out with the ticket to the houses."
On Corneau's absence, Dego said: "Pierre is a very significant player, dominant in my team. We did the win without Sheriff without him and we have a very quality squad. No excuses. Neither synthetic nor fair. We meet a team on our home turf, but they also came to Sammy Ofer and pressured us, so we will also come tomorrow with courage, without fear and we will do everything to win."
Regarding midfielder Dia Seba, who is not expected to start tomorrow, Dego said: "Just as I disconnect from background noise, so does Dia. I'm sure he'll play a very significant part in the game tomorrow."
Raftel Vicky, coach of the Young Boys. Today, Photo: EPA
On the previous tactical game between the teams and when asked if they practiced penalties, Dego said: "The game in Israel was very tactical, we also have a good defensive game and the Young Boys. Tomorrow both teams will have to make adjustments but it will never be at the expense of the defensive game.
"We will do everything to make our offensive game much better. I don't believe as a coach that you have to practice penalties, because in training you kick in front of five birds, and here in front of 32,<> spectators. It depends on the player and not the goalkeeper or what's going on around him. That's what I believe."
Dego and Sundgren. Today, Photo: Liav Nachmani
Daniel Sundgren said of a possible Champions League qualification for a second year in a row: "If you touch the sky once then you want again. To reach the Champions League is huge for us, for the crowd, for the club. We were there and now want to be there again. The gate in front of the Red Star is still in my memory, they still send me the video from Sweden. It's time to create a new memory, maybe I'll kick more to the goal."
On receiving Israeli citizenship and the crowd singing to him and feeling that he was now one of them, the Swede said: "I feel one of them too, to be honest. We have one of the best crowds in the world and I've been to big clubs in the world. I appreciate every song they sing to me. The current one is a bit boring so I asked for a new song."
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Sherry, Dego and Sundgren (right), photo by Alan Shaver
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