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Maccabi Haifa punches ticket to UEFA Champions League playoffs

The Greens from the Carmel will face Swiss club BSC Young Boys after defeating ŠK Slovan Bratislava on aggregate.

The UEFA Champions League Group H football match between Maccabi Haifa and Juventus at the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa, Oct. 11, 2022. Photo by Oren ben Hakoon/Flash90.
The UEFA Champions League Group H football match between Maccabi Haifa and Juventus at the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa, Oct. 11, 2022. Photo by Oren ben Hakoon/Flash90.

Israeli champions Maccabi Haifa F.C. advanced to the UEFA Champions League playoff round on Tuesday with a convincing 3-1 victory over ŠK Slovan Bratislava.

The 30,000-plus green-clad supporters at Sammy Ofer Stadium roared in approval after forward Frantzdy Pierrot, who also plays for the Haitian national side, hit the back of the net at the 29th minute. Attacking midfielder Dia Saba struck in the second minute of extra time before half-time making it 2-0 for the Israeli team.

Croatian attacking midfielder Marko Tolić scored for the Slovak club at the 85-minute mark and Haifa forward Dean David added a goal in the third minute of extra time to make the final score 3-1.

Maccabi Haifa won 2-1 in Slovakia last week in the first leg of the third qualifying round, claiming a 5-2 victory on aggregate and setting up a playoff match against BSC Young Boys based in Bern, Switzerland.

A win against the Swiss club would book The Greens from the Carmel a spot in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the second straight year and the fourth time in club history. While not advancing last year, the team notably defeated Italian soccer powerhouse Juventus 2-0, securing its first UEFA Champions League win since 2002.

The club in May claimed its third consecutive Israeli Premier League championship title.

Sammy Ofer will play host to the first leg against the Swiss club on Aug. 23, with the second leg at Stadion Wankdorf on Aug. 29.

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