Josh Cohen

Josh Cohen and Maccabi Haifa all but assured their advancement to the final qualification round with a blow-out home win, while James Sands and Malik Tillman had a difficult outing with Rangers FC in their loss in Belgium.

Maccabi Haifa 4 – 0 Apollon Limassol

Josh Cohen was in Maccabi Haifa’s goal on Wednesday night, however the team’s attack once again ruled the night as they posted a dominant four-goal shut-out victory over Cypriot champions Apollon Limassol.

Overall, Cohen had little to do in goal for Haifa, with the Apollon attack rendered toothless in their 46% of possession, where they were largely on the back foot from the opening to closing whistle.

Frantzdy Pierrot came tantalizingly close for the hosts when he broke free in the fourth minute, however his low shot from the right rolled just wide of the far post.

Haifa kept the pressure on and saw that they thought was the opener by Din David in the 19th minute called back for offside, but were rewarded for their persistence as Dolev Haziza’s attempted cross from the left was deflected by Apollon defender Mathieu Peybernes into his own goal for the 1-0 home lead in the 38th minute.

Nine minutes after the break, they doubled the lead off the foot of Ali Mohamed, who cleaned up a poor clearance with a one-timed shot from the edge of the six-yard box.

The visitors were forced to retreat into damage-mitigation mode just past the hour when Vukasin Jovanovic was shown a straight red for an unnecessarily rough tackle in the midfield.

Their efforts to keep their deficit from ballooning were quickly thwarted, with Mohamed adding a second goal barely one minute later. David served up a picture-perfect cross from the left of the area towards the far side of the six-yard box, where Mohamed was waiting to cleanly put away the free header.

Pierrot then put the cherry on top in the 79th minute, stooping low to head in Dolev Haziza’s cross from short range for the final 4-0 victory.

The lopsided victory means that Apollon will need to pull off a historic victory in next Tuesday’s return leg in Cyprus in order to stop Cohen and Haifa from advancing to the final play-off round.

In the more likely case that the Israeli champions don’t lose their strong advantage, they will likely play Red Star Belgrade in the next round, after the Serbians posted a 5-0 win over Pyunik in their first leg on Wednesday.

Highlights of the game can be viewed under this link.

Union Saint-Gilloise 2 – 0 Rangers FC

Both James Sands and Malik Tillman started for Rangers FC on Tuesday night in their 2-0 loss in Belgium against Union Saint-Gilloise. Yanks Abroad’s Michael Adubato was on-site and provided a detailed press-box report of the game.

In the meantime, please click here to read post-game comments by Rangers head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst about Tillman.

Highlights of the game can be viewed under this link.

Notes

Richard Ledezma was an unused substitute for PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday night as the Dutch powerhouse was unable to hold onto their first-half lead against Monaco in their 1-1 road draw. They will try to capitalize on their home-field advantage in Tuesday’s second leg.

Henry Wingo is out injured and missed the 1-1 draw by Ferencváros in Baku against Qarabag on Wednesday. They will try to beat the Azerbaijanis in Budapest on Tuesday.

By 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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