Hapoel Beersheba striker Ben Sahar (right) celebrates with Maor Buzaglo.
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Ben Sahar’s 93rd-minute winner completed an unforgettable comeback for Hapoel Beersheba on Thursday night, securing a 3-2 win over Inter Milan at Turner Stadium to keep alive the Israeli champion’s hopes of progressing in the Europa League.
Maccabi Tel Aviv will also enter its final match in two weeks with everything to play for despite losing 2-0 at Zenit St. Petersburg.
Beersheba looked to be dead and buried after goals from Mauro Icardi (13) and Marcelo Brozovic (25) gave the Italian giant a two-goal cushion at the break. However, tactical changes made by Beersheba coach Barak Bachar and a spirited second-half display saw the hosts erase the deficit and register their second win over Inter after triumphing 2-0 at San Siro. Lucio’s header (58) was the lifeline Beersheba needed and Anthony Nwakaeme leveled the score from the penalty spot in the 71st minute after Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic was sent off for bringing down Maor Buzaglo. Beersheba piled the pressure as it searched for the winner and it finally arrived deep into stoppage time, with Sahar making no mistake in front of goal.
Beersheba improved to seven points in Group K, tied with Southampton in second place.
Beersheba visits Southampton on December 8 knowing a win or a draw with goals will send it through to the round of 32.
Maccabi Tel Aviv will have to defeat Dundalk in its final group match in Netanya to have any chance of progressing. Goals from Aleksandr Kokorin (44) and Aleksandr Kerzhakov (91) left the yellow-and-blue on four points in Group D.