Haifa loses fifth straight in Europe

Haifa loses fifth straig

By
November 26, 2009 00:19
3 minute read.
bayern munchen maccabi haifa 248.88

bayern munchen maccabi haifa 248.88. (photo credit: )

 
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Maccabi Haifa is 90 minutes away from European soccer infamy after suffering a 1-0 defeat against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night.  Haifa has lost all five of its group matches to date and has also failed to score a single goal in its encounters against Bayern, Bordeaux and Juventus. In two weeks time Maccabi will host Bordeaux in its sixth and final group game and will desperately try to avoid becoming the first team in the 18-year history of the Champions League to end the group stage without a point or a goal. Bayern was a shadow of the club's past great teams on Wednesday night, but it nevertheless kept Haifa on its back foot throughout the encounter. Despite giving its best effort, it was quite clear that Maccabi was simply not good enough to leave Munich with anything other than a defeat, and there was only going to be one winner after Ivica Olic gave the hosts the lead in the 62nd minute. "This is a disappointing loss," Haifa coach Elisha Levy said. "We failed to make the right decisions in the final third of the field and that is why we could not score. In the final stages of the match the players tired and we could not create any chances." "We had a lot of good minutes," captain Yaniv Katan said. "But we failed to score and at this level you will lose if you can't score. We looked pretty good against Bayern, but we still need more experience to succeed in the Champions League." As expected, the hosts pushed forward in search of the opener right from the start, but Haifa was well prepared for Bayern. Maccabi's defense and midfield did their best to thwart Munich's attacks, but with the Germans dominating the possession it was only a matter of time until Nir Davidovitch's goal was under threat. In the 16th minute, Mario Gomez should have really given Bayern the lead. After a nice team move, the ball was squared to the German international, but the 24-year-old sent his shot wide, despite being all alone in the center of the box. Haifa was more than content on trying to hit Munich on the break, but the Israelis had so little possession that they even struggled to do that. Despite completely controlling the match, the hosts could not make their supremacy count. Bayern's chances were few and far between and when Louis van Gaal's players finally managed to register a shot on target, Davidovitch was well placed. That was the case in the 33rd minute when Olic sent a dangerous shot towards goal, only for Davidovitch to keep the ball out with his face in what must have surely been one of the most painful saves of his life.    In first half stoppage time, Olic proved to be the danger man once more, sending a header just over the Haifa goal. For the fourth time in five group matches, Maccabi entered the break in a goalless deadlock, but yet again the second half proved to be its undoing. Haifa actually played its best soccer at the start of the second half, with Yaniv Katan coming close with a left-footed shot in the 50th minute. However, it was not long before Munich seized control once again. In the 52nd minute John Culma's needless foul almost cost Haifa dearly, with Bastian Schweinsteiger hitting the crossbar from the subsequent free kick. Ten minutes later, Maccabi's defenses were broken. Gomez's shot from the edge of the area was saved by Davidovitch, but Olic was first to the rebound and he had no trouble slotting in the opener into the empty net. The single goal was all Bayern would need to claim all three points, and Haifa's Champions League dream is just 90 minutes from turning into a bitter nightmare.

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