Drama in Sammy Ofer: Maccabi Haifa won last night (Wednesday) against Sheriff Tiraspol with a score of 4-1, after a dramatic match that went into extra time. As a result, the team advanced to the next stage in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers.
In the 20th minute, a successful penalty kick by Sheriff, followed by some throwing of objects which led to the referee's nerves in the 32nd minute. Charon Cherry equalized with a shot from outside the penalty area.
In the 84th minute, Mohammad Jabar also blasted a shot from outside the penalty area, putting Maccabi Haifa in the lead in the match and equalizing the overall score. The game continued into extra time.
In the closing seconds of the first half of extra time, Cherry kicked the ball that reached the head of Suf Podgrano, who passed it to Dean David. With a magnificent volley, David scored, bringing Maccabi Haifa to a 3-1 lead.
Two minutes into the second half of extra time, Arik Shoranov, the Jewish forward who came from Nürnberg in the German second division, scored. The significant victory ensures Maccabi Haifa's advancement to the group stage in one of the three European competitions, where each stage they pass guarantees them participation in a more prestigious tournament.
Maccabi Haifa's opponent in the next stage: Sloven Bratislava
As reported, Maccabi Haifa's opponent in the next stage is Slovan Bratislava, the team with the highest number of championships in Slovakia. The team's coach is Vladimir Weiss, and his son serves as the team's captain.
In the team, there is even the goalkeeper who was in the goal of Belgrade Red Star when Maccabi Haifa eliminated them on the way to the Champions League last year. Their stadium holds 22,500 seats.
Following Maccabi Haifa's request, Israel Railways announced that after the game, the Haifa Hof HaCarmel train station, located near the stadium, will be reinforced with station managers, conductors, ticket inspectors, and security personnel to provide assistance and guidance.
At the end of the game, train services from Haifa Hof HaCarmel station will be enhanced, and a dedicated train will depart from the station to the center of the country later than usual.
Dego: 30,000 greens will push us, but they won't score a goal
Last night, the team's coach, Messay Dego, spoke at the press conference about the 30,000 fans who accompanied the team in the game: "I can say that every fan is very critical; they are our 12th player. Every game in Maccabi Haifa is like a final in every respect.
"There will be an amazing crowd of 30,000 greens pushing us, and Sheriff will feel it from the first moment. We need to remember that they don't score the goal, and I also told that to the players; the responsibility is on them."