Maccabi Haifa football team defeats Juventus 2-0, ending two decades of Champions League drought

Maccabi Haifa football team defeated the famous Italian Juventus 2-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday, behind two goals scored by Omar Atzeli, ending nearly 20 years of drought since the team achieved another victory in the first European football championship.

Victory in front of 30,000 ecstatic fans at Haifa’s Sami Ofer Stadium keeps alive a far-reaching bid for the team’s first-ever promotion after the Champions League group stage, although Barak Vapor’s side will need to beat both star-studded Paris Saint-Germain. . Portuguese perennials Benfica to do so.

Juventus, who have been sub-par in Serie A this season but twice won the Champions League, won their home game 3-1 last week, but this time Haifa dominated the pitch, leaping into rapid progress after just seven games. Minutes.

Midfielder Atsili overtook the visiting defense to meet a cross from Pierre Cornaud, and although he bowed his head just before making contact, the ball hit his back and headed towards the goal. Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny reached for the ball but it slipped through his outstretched fingers and advanced near the post.

Maccabi had several chances in quick succession, with Tejoron Cheri hitting the crossbar minutes later, and Atzeli later hitting a cross just wide of the goal.

The second goal came three minutes before the end of the first half, as Atseli appeared to be ready to take a left-footed shot into the far post, but instead hit it at the near post with Chesney hitting his line.

Maccabi’s dominance continued, with Juventus scoring their first goal just seconds before the end of the first half. Haifa goalkeeper Joshua Cohen saved Dusan Vlahovic’s header from entering the net, keeping the visitors scoreless.

Juventus, who lost midfielder Angel Di Maria to a thigh problem in the 24th minute, pressed from the start of the second half, but Cohen saved Daniele Rugani’s header heading towards the top corner.

He later saved shots from flankers Juan Cuadrado and Arcadius Milik, allowing Maccabi to retain the lead.

Juventus Argentine midfielder Matthias Sole fights for the ball with Israeli defender Maccabi Haifa Sun Menachem during the UEFA Champions League Group H match between Israel’s Maccabi Haifa and Italy’s Juventus at Sami Ofer Stadium in Haifa, October 11, 2022. SCHEMIDT / AFP)

“Sometimes when you go to bed and close your eyes, you think of moments like this,” Atzeli said after the final whistle. “Now we have to think about the next match.”

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said he was “ashamed” of his team after the match.

“There is only silence after this bad result,” Allegri said. “We are not talking here about technical or tactical questions, it is a matter of heart and passion. We play very individually.”

Maccabi and Juventus are now tied with three points each at the bottom of Group H after four matches. Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica tied with 8 points each at the top of the group after drawing 1-1 for the second time in a row on Tuesday.

Maccabi will next face Paris Saint-Germain on October 25. The Israeli team fell to the French force at home last month, despite taking a brief lead against Lionel Messi and Neymar’s squad, amazing fans and analysts alike. His last match will be at home against Benfica on 2 November.

Maccabi Haifa players celebrate their victory in the UEFA Champions League Group H match between Israel’s Maccabi Haifa and Italy’s Juventus at Sami Ofer Stadium in Haifa, October 11, 2022 (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Maccabi’s last win in the Champions League group stage came on October 29, 2002, when he beat Manchester United 3-0. The win was the team’s second during that campaign, after also beating Olympiacos, but it still lost qualification to the Champions League knockout round.

Despite technically winning at home, Maccabi was forced to play international matches that year in Cyprus due to security concerns, making Tuesday’s match his first-ever Champions League win on home soil.

The team also reached the group stage in 2009, but failed to win a single match.

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