Haifa downed by French giant PSG in Champions League after briefly taking shock lead

For 13 superb minutes Wednesday night time, Maccabi Haifa might need been the best soccer workforce in the world. For 69 minutes, the delight of Israel ran alongside giants, protecting not possible tempo with among the best gamers the pitch has ever recognized.

And then actuality crashed the celebration, leaving Sammy Ofer Stadium with solely the reminiscence — or was it a dream — of the night time that would have seen one of many best upsets in Israeli sports activities historical past.

Facing off towards Paris Saint-Germain, residence to such top-flight stars as Argentine Lionel Messi, Brazilian Neymar and France’s Kylian Mbappe, Maccabi Haifa fell 3-1 in a UEFA Champions League group play.

The loss had been extensively anticipated, however few, if any, may have predicted that it might take PSG, one in all a handful of groups favored to win the entire enchilada, till the 88th minute to lastly erase all of the sudden real looking ideas of a Haifa victory.

Playing in entrance of a sellout crowd of 30,421, Haifa raced out to an early lead over the French powerhouse in the twenty fourth minute as Suriname worldwide Tjarron Chery volleyed residence a cross from Dolev Haziza.

The objective broke a streak of seven straight Champions League group stage matches in which Haifa failed to search out the again of the online a single time, going all the way in which again to 2002. Have we talked about who it got here towards?

Players vie for the ball throughout a UEFA Champions League group H match between Israel’s Maccabi Haifa and France’s Paris Saint-Germain on the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa on September 14, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Haifa briefly thought they’d managed to go up 2-0 minutes later when Frantzdy Pierrot put the ball over the road, however he was referred to as offside. Alas, some situations are too farfetched even for this reverie.

PSG equalized in the thirty seventh minute when Mbappe’s low cross was deflected completely to Messi, who slotted the ball previous Cohen from shut vary.

It would take till 24 minutes after halftime for PSG to lastly take a seemingly inevitable lead, as Messi slipped a pass-through for Mbappe to slip a shot into the far nook of the objective.

Haifa continued to problem PSG’s shaky protection, because it had all through the sport. As time wound down, Chery blazed a free-kick over the objective, however seconds later PSG countered and Neymar fired the ball into the underside nook to place the sport away for good in the 88th minute.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentine ahead Lionel Messi controls the ball in the course of the UEFA Champions League group H soccer match between Israel’s Maccabi Haifa and France’s Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on the Sammy Ofer stadium in town of Haifa on September 14, 2022. ( JACK GUEZ/AFP)

Even regardless of the loss, Haifa got here away from the match with stars in its eyes. Coverage of the sport in Israel’s sports activities media handled the ultimate rating nearly as an afterthought, in comparison with its short-lived lead.

“The last rating will not be remembered,” gushed the Sport5 web site, “however these 13 minutes, and the superb minutes all through the sport, won’t ever be forgotten.”

“It’s a bit odd to say however we felt too snug,” mentioned Haifa coach Barak Bakhar. “We felt like we have been in management of the sport… We knew we might be punished for the smallest errors. With a bit extra luck, we may have scored a minimum of yet one more objective.”

“In the top, their high quality was what determined it,” he added.

Maccabi Haifa goalkeeper Josh Cohen concedes a objective in the course of the UEFA Champions League group H soccer match between Israel’s Maccabi Haifa and France’s Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on the Sammy Ofer stadium in town of Haifa on September 14, 2022. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Mbappe agreed: “The proven fact that the three of us could make the distinction in a recreation is a bonus for us,” he informed Canal Plus.

PSG may have taken the lead inside 70 seconds as Mbappe burst into the field, solely to see his effort saved out by a sprawling save from Haifa goalkeeper Josh Cohen.

Maccabi, in the meantime, managed to maintain PSG’s protection on its toes with successive assaults all through the night time.

“[Haifa] pushed exhausting in a very good ambiance,” PSG coach Christophe Galtier informed RMC Sport. “We weren’t nicely organized, shortly break up in two, and that made the primary half tough. We wanted to place issues proper, and after the break, we have been rather more compact.”

Fans gentle flares throughout a Champions League group H match between Israel’s Maccabi Haifa and France’s Paris Saint-Germain on the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa on September 14, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“We have to enhance. We need to work,” Mbappe mentioned.

The win places PSG on the prime of Group H in the European tourney on targets scored above Benfica, who gained 2-1 at Juventus after beating Maccabi 2-0 final week in Lisbon.

Haifa, ranked lowest of the 64 groups in the group stage, stays in the cellar, just under Juventus, which it’s going to face in Italy on October 5. The prime two groups will advance to the spherical of 16, a spot no Israeli workforce has ever reached.

Players vie for the ball as Paris Saint-Germain’s Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma jumps in in the course of the UEFA Champions League group H match between Israel’s Maccabi Haifa and France’s Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at Sammy Ofer stadium in town of Haifa on September 14, 2022. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Few Israeli groups even rise to the extent of the Champions League group stage. This is Maccabi’s third journey. Maccabi Tel Aviv has made it to the group stage twice and Hapoel Tel Aviv as soon as.

Haifa will journey to Paris on October 25 to face off towards PSG once more.

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