Europa Conference League Recap: Cohen, Haifa fall to Visiting Union Berlin

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Josh Cohen and Maccabi Haifa saw their hopes to advance in the Europa Conference League come to an end, while Mikkel Diskerud and Omonoia picked up a consolation point in Azerbaijan.

Maccabi Haifa 0 – 1 Union Berlin

Another strong defensive performance by Maccabi Haifa keeper Josh Cohen and his team’s back line wasn’t enough to earn them a result, as they fell by a single goal to visiting Union Berlin on Thursday night.

Cohen was already forced into action just over a minute into the game, when he barely reached a dangerous cross by Tymoteusz Puchacz, just before the Polish international could arrive to put it away.

The game settled after that early chance, and a defensive battle saw both teams reluctant to give an inch, with few chances to either side in the opening 45 minutes.

The trend continued after the break, until a flurry of substitutions by both teams just past the hour changed the flow, and ultimately led to the winning goal by the visitors.

In the 66th minute, Union substitute Sheraldo Becker fought his way to the endline and sent in a precision cross toward the penalty spot, which Julian Ryerson headed home for the winner.

The result leaves Cohen and his teammates officially eliminated from contention for a spot in the final knockout round. Their chance for a consolation prize will come in two weeks when they visit group winners Feyenoord Rotterdam, who they drew in the first group game in mid-September.

Qarabağ FK 2 – 2 Omonoia Nikosia

Mikkel Diskerud and Omonoia put on a valiant display, even after going a man down midway through the second half, fighting back to equalize at the death in Azerbaijan against Qarabağ FK.

The American played the final 27 minutes plus added time as a substitute, picking up his first yellow card of the group stage.

The visitors were first on the board three minutes before the half, after a handball in the area by Toral Bayramov gave Omonoia forward Michal Duris the chance to convert from the spot.

Being the good guests, they returned the favor to their hosts four minutes after the break, with Paris Psaltis heading into his own net following a Qarabağ corner.

Diskerud entered the game in the 63rd minute as the team pushed for a win, however they were dealt a blow after Portuguese defender Kiko was shown red three minutes later after committing a second bookable offense.

As would be expected, the hosts gradually wore down Omonoia and found an equalizer two minutes from full time, with Patrick Andrade doing the damage from distance for the 2-1 lead.

Nevertheless, the visitors would be the last to celebrate, after Jordi Gómez struck a stunning 35-yard shot two minutes later pulled the game even at two apiece.

Seven minutes of added time were more than enough for either team to pull out a dramatic winner, however the referee’s final whistle finally blew to confirm the deserved point for each team.

The draw does little to improve Omonoia’s fortunes, as they were already without any chance of prior to kickoff. Nevertheless, they will take the point, their third draw of the group stage, and try to grab a win in their final outing in two weeks at home against cellar-dwellers Kairat.


Bryan Reynolds was an unused substitute for Roma on Thursday night as they smashed visiting Ukrainian team Zorya Luhansk by a 4-0 margin in Rome to guarantee their place in the knockout round.


David Smith

I'm YA's resident doctor, but not the kind of doctor you would want giving you an examination anywhere outside of a lecture hall. I've been YA's feet-on-the-ground in Germany since 2008, have an affinity for overly verbose descriptions of irrelevant minutiae, keep an eye on YAs in most of the destinations on mainland Europe, and watch a whole lot of Serie A.

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