Maccabi Haifa Advances With A Loss
Maccabi Haifa advanced into the third round of UEFA Champions League qualifying with a loss to Bosnian side Borac Banja Luka away after winning convincingly at home. Haifa looked like they were already looking ahead to the next fixture with Slovenian side Maribor, and it showed after they gave up a goal in the 9th minute. Nir Davidovic flopped at the in-swinging corner and Branislav Krunic headed in from close range giving the Bosnian’s a 1-0 lead. However the lead didn’t last very long when Haifa capitalized on an error from their hosts, Idan Vered squared the ball across the box allowing Vladimir Dvalishvili to tap the ball in at the far post and equalize for the visistors to 1-1. The Bosnians still didn’t give up and the 34th minute goalkeeper Nir Davidovic made an error after a scrum in the 18 yard box resulted in a shot from Branislav Krunic, but Davidovic couldn’t handle the shot and the ball went through his legs and into the goal. 2-1 to Banja Luka. Haifa appeared to settle down after half-time and in the 55th minute Haifa tied the game again, this time with Wiam Amasha squaring the ball for Vladimir Dvalishvili who coolly finished into an empty net to make it 2-2. Haifa sat back for the rest of the game, apparently settling for a draw, but the Bosnian’s were not to be deterred and they had their third goal after Haifa Defender Andriy Pylavskiy didn’t mark his man, allowing the Bosnian’s to have any easy goal. The game finished 3-2 to the hosts and Haifa will have many questions going into their next fixture especially their goal-keeping and the ability of the back four to effectively communicate.