Maccabi Haifa eased into the third round of UEFA Champions League qualifying with a 4-0 pounding of Olympics in Piraeus to take the two-legged tie 5-1 on aggregate.
Frantzdy Pierrot scored a second-half brace to set up an enticing matchup against Cypriot outfit Apollon Limassol, with the winner of the two-match series heading to the playoff round of the competition.
The Greens grabbed an early lead as Tjaron Chery scored a brilliant free-kick marker that found its way past the Olympiacos goalkeeper, beating Tomáš Vaclík just under the bar for a 1-0 advantage in the fifth minute.
Pierrot doubled the gap when he scored a diving header off a pinpoint perfect cross by Dolev Haziza in the 61st minute.
The Haitian striker completed a brace just five minutes later when he latched onto a Pierre Cornud ball to put Haifa in the driver’s seat with a 3-0 lead.
Muhammed Abu Fani put the finishing touches on the game with a low liner from 20 meters out in the 86th minute to wrap up the clinical win.
'One of our greatest games'
Barak Bachar was thrilled with his club’s victory.
“This was one of the greatest games as we defeated a team that had not lost at home for years, especially in these types of contests. We came in to play our game and we should have even won the first match. We prepared very well for this clash in terms of fitness and sharpness. This was the biggest win in my career by far.”
Haifa forward Dean David also weighed on the players’ thoughts after the contest.
“It’s a great feeling and we played an incredible game,” David said. “We are all so happy and a big thank you has to go to the fans who did a great job cheering us on.
“The 1,600 fans here in Greece were like 30,000. The next game is like a final for us. We will prepare well and play our game and hopefully, we can advance to the next stage.”