Super Eagles midfielder John Ogu says he expects ‘a difficult game’ when his Israeli side, Hapoel Be’er Sheva confronts Slovenian Champions, NK Maribor in the playoffs of the UEFA Champions League later this month.
Following Friday’s draw in Switzerland, Hapoel Be’er Sheva will host Maribor in Israel on 16 August before traveling to Slovenia 6 days later for the second leg, with aggregate winners advancing to the money-spinning group stage of the competition.
Having played for Slovenian side Drava Ptuj from 2006-2010, the 29-year-old reckons that Maribor are an experienced side, even as he expects the Israeli Champions to approach the two-legged tie with all sense of seriousness.
“It was a good draw against a team from Slovenia, Maribor – big team,” said the former Academica de Coimbra of Portugal player. “I know them from my Slovenia days. They’ve got experience in this competition.
“I think it’s going to be a difficult game for us but we’ll take every game as they come.
“We have a dream to play in the Champions League, so we are going to take the game serious.
“We are not trying to look down on any team. We are just going to focus on ourselves, play our game and take the games as they come.
“The first game is in our home and with the support of our fans; we believe can come out with a good result in Israel. When we go away, I know it’s going to be a difficult game. I know Maribor; I know how their fans are when you visit them.
“Yeah, it’s going to be a big game and everyone here is looking forward to the game,” Ogu concluded.
Before getting to the playoff round, Hapoel Be’er Sheva accounted for the exit of Hungarian side Honved and Ludogorets Razgrad of Bulgaria.