Grp I: Hapoel Kiryat Shmona vs Lyon Preview

Barak Bakhar faces a baptism of fire as he takes charge of Hapoel Kiryat Shmona for the first time against Lyon in the Europa League.

Football News: Michel Bastos, Lyon

Gili Sandau on Wednesday lost his job as manager of the Israeli club after just three months in charge, with his assistant, Bakhar, promoted in his stead.

At the age of just 33, Bakhar has no previous managerial experience having joined the coaching staff at Kiryat Shmona last year following his retirement as a player.

Lyon are likely to provide stiff opposition on matchday two in Group I and, to make his task even harder, Bakhar is looking to steer his side to a first competitive win in five matches.

Successive league defeats to Maccabi Haifa, Maccabi Netanya and Maccabi Tel Aviv, followed by a 1-1 draw with Hapoel Haifa, led to Sandau's removal.

Coincidentally, Sandau's best recent result came in his side's Europa League opener when Adrian Rochet secured a draw for Kiryat at the home of last year's beaten finalists Athletic Bilbao.

As Champions League regulars in recent times, Lyon marked their return to Europe's second competition with a 2-1 victory over Sparta Prague last time out.

A second win would see the Ligue 1 outfit take control of the group, but they will have to do so without the services of Brazil international Michel Bastos.

A statement released on the club's official website confirmed he did not travel due to a family illness.

It read: "Olympique Lyonnais wish to clarify that the absence of Michel Bastos in the Lyon squad that will meet Hapoel Kiryat Shmona on Thursday in the Europa League is due to a health problem affecting a close member of his family.

"At the request of the player, the club has decided to spare him a long trip to Israel."

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