Maccabi Haifa progress to Europa Conference League last 16 after battling past Gent

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Maccabi Haifa progress to Europa Conference League last 16 after battling past Gent
Maccabi Haifa clung on to reach the last 16
Maccabi Haifa clung on to reach the last 16
Profimedia
Despite ending the second leg with just 10 men, Maccabi Haifa progressed to the last 16 of the UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL) thanks to a behind-closed-doors 1-1 draw in Belgium, handing the Greens a 2-1 aggregate win over KAA Gent.

Gent had a one-goal deficit to overturn after a 1-0 defeat in the first leg of this tie, yet after just four minutes their task was made even harder, falling behind to the Greens once more.

In arguably their first meaningful attack, Frantzdy Pierrot tried his luck from the edge of the box, and the towering striker took advantage of a deflection to find the back of the net, leaving Davy Roef stranded and giving the visitors a two-goal aggregate lead.

Despite enjoying nearly 60% possession, Gent only mustered two off-target shots in the opening 30 minutes, evidently struggling for ideas as they failed to build momentum in the final third. Meanwhile, Maccabi Haifa were looking threatening in transition but ultimately passed up opportunities to add to their lead before the break.

Maccabi Haifa will find out their last 16 opponents on Friday
AFP

The flow of the game was unchanged after HT, as Gent continued to see more of the ball while the visitors sat deep looking to exploit the counter. The hosts came just inches away from evening things up in the 55th minute via Tarik Tissoudali, but his effort from inside the box sailed over the crossbar.

Gent were unquestionably dominant, and they finally found an equaliser in the 69th minute via a deflection, that this time, went their way. Tissoudali took centre stage once more, seeing his cross deflected beyond Sharif Kaiuf by Abdoulaye Seck, setting up a tense final 20 minutes.

To complicate matters further for the visitors, Daniel Sundgren was sent off following a second yellow card shortly after Seck’s own goal.

The Belgian outfit went all out on the attack in the final stages of the match as it became a one-way traffic affair, but Maccabi Haifa’s stout defending combined with Gent’s lack of accuracy ensured the scoreline remained unchanged.

Match stats
Statsperform

Despite their underdogs' tag, the Israeli side were sufficiently clinical, dispatching Gent over two legs to qualify for the UECL Round of 16, with the identity of their opponent to be revealed in Friday’s draw.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Tarik Tissoudali (KAA Gent)

See a match summary here

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