Josh Cohen and Maccabi Haifa had a shocking blow-out victory over Greek champions Olympiakos to continue their European run, while Henry Wingo was a no-show in an important win by Ferencvaros.
Olympiakos Piraeus 0 – 4 Maccabi Haifa (agg. 1-5)
Having escaped from last week’s home leg with a plucky 1-1 draw, Maccabi Haifa pulled off a surprising upset in Greece on Wednesday, utterly dismantling Olympiakos by a four-goal advantage.
Cohen took up his usual spot in goal, picking up a late yellow card, as the Haifa defense neutralized an Olympiakos attack that held close to 60% of possession, but couldn’t create any consistent pressing danger from their significant time on the ball.
The visitors wasted no time in taking the aggregate lead, with Tjaronn Chery targeting the upper right corner of Tomas Vaclik’s goal in the fifth minute with a spectacular, looping free kick that left the Czech keeper no chance whatsoever of making the save.
Just before the 24-minute mark, the Greeks thought they had equalized when Andreas Bouchalakis poked from five yards out, however the goal was correctly called back for a handball by the attacker in the buildup.
Haifa would have to wait until just past the hour mark to create some further breathing room, however a brace inside of four minutes by Hatian forward Frantzdy Pierrot effectively put the series out of reach.
His first goal in the 61st minute was a picture-perfect, fast-attack setup, with Dolev Haziza receiving the ball on the right flank and sending a cross towards center with this first touch, where Pierrot lunged in for the easy header.
Then four minutes later, Pierre Cornud tried from the other side, lofting a cross towards the left side of the six-yard box, where Pierrot’s glancing header beat Vaclik at the near post for the 3-0 lead.
Three minutes before full time, Mohammad Abu Fani added the cherry on top, catching the Olympiakos defense sleeping and unleashing a low, 25-yard shot that evaded the keeper’s lunge and rolled in just inside the left upright.
Having taken the 5-1 aggregate victory, Cohen and his teammates have another tough test ahead of them, as they must now deal with Cypriot champions Apollon Limassol over two legs on August 3 and 9.
Henry Wingo wasn’t in uniform for Ferencvaros in their 4-1 win at Slovan Bratislava on Wednesday evening. The result gives them an aggregate 5-3 victory, and passage into the third qualifying round where they will face Azerbaijani champions Qarabağ FK over two legs on August 3 and 9.
Romain Gall didn’t suit up for Malmö FF on Wednesday afternoon as they lost at home to Zalgiris Vilinius by a 2-0 scoreline. The aggregate 3-0 loss means they will transfer to the third qualifying round of the Europa League, where they will face Luxembourg champions F91 Dudelange on August 4 and 9.