Israeli champions Maccabi Haifa achieved a 2-1 home win over Malta’s Hamrun Spartans in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League’s first qualifying round on Tuesday.
In front of 28,613 fans at the Sammy Ofer Stadium, the hosts completed a 6-1 aggregate win after a 4-0 victory last week in Malta to secure a spot in the second qualifying round.
The visitors were close to scoring in the 23rd minute, but Haifa goalkeeper Itamar Nitzan saved an effort from by Montenegrin striker Uros Djuranovic.
Nine minutes later, Hamrun broke the deadlock with a goal by Joseph Mbong after a series of errors in the Haifa defense.
In the second half, Haifa midfielder Dolev Haziza’s accurate pass allowed German striker Erik Shuranov to level the scores in the 69th minute.
Haziza also contributed to the winner in the 84th minute with a pass to Haitian striker Frantzdy Pierrot, who found the net from close range.
In the next round, Haifa will face Moldovan champions Sheriff Tiraspol, who overcame Farul Constanta of Romania. ■