Soccer: Mac Haifa to play Salzburg in Champions League playoff

Austrian champions' record in European competition is reaching the 1994 UEFA Cup final.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
August 7, 2009 05:16
1 minute read.
Soccer: Mac Haifa to play Salzburg in Champions League playoff

maccabi haifa 88. (photo credit: )

 
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Maccabi Haifa will play Austrian champions Salzburg in the final round of qualification for the group stage of the Champions League. The first leg will be played on August 18-19 in Austria, with the return leg on August 25-26 at Kiryat Eliezer. Haifa was among the top seeds in Friday's draw in Nyon, Switzerland, and as a result was handed what is, on paper at least, a relatively weak opponent in the final round of qualification for the group stage of European soccer's premier competition. Salzburg beat Croatian side Dynamo Zagreb in the previous qualifying round. The Austrian club's record in European competition is losing to Inter Milan in the 1994 UEFA Cup final. Maccabi will be handed a place in the Europa League group stage even if it loses in the upcoming playoffs. Haifa trailed 3-0 after the first 15 minutes of Tuesday's second qualifying round return leg against FK Aktobe, but still went on to secure its place in the next round after scoring four unanswered goals to complete a remarkable comeback. "I have no explanation to what happened in the first 15 minutes," said midfielder Biram Kiyal. "I looked at the scoreboard and like everyone else was stunned. "However, we knew how to fight back and I don't think many teams could have recorded such a comeback. It is every players' dream to reach the group stage of the Champions League and that is our goal."

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