Mac Haifa downs Partizan Belgrade

Xavier Anderson's 21st-minute strike does the damage at Bloomfield UEFA match.

maccabi haifa 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
maccabi haifa 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Maccabi Haifa is on the brink of qualifying for the third round of the UEFA Cup after defeating Partizan Belgrade 1-0 on Thursday night at Bloomfield Stadium. Haifa has six points after three matches and faces AS Livorno next Wednesday in Italy. A point next week will secure Maccabi a spot in the next round, but the club may well even book its place in the next stage with a loss, depending on the outcome of the other results in the group. Haifa took a deserved lead in the first half and despite Partizan dominating the second half in its entirety, held on for the win. "We had a great match tonight," Maccabi forward Yaniv Katan said after the game. "We showed who the true Maccabi Haifa is. It will be a crime if we don't reach the next round." Haifa seized the initiative at the start of the match and after seven minutes, had the first chance of the game. Adoram Keisi's cross was met perfectly by Katan, but the forward's header went just wide of goal. Three minutes later, Katan appeared to have scored direct from a free kick. However, the referee disallowed the goal because Maccabi midfielder Alain Masudi obstructed Serb 'keeper Safet Jahic. In the 21st minute, the hosts' pressure finally paid a dividend. Katan's corner was headed in from five meters out by Brazilian midfielder Xavier Anderson and Haifa took a deserved lead. Partizan immediately went in search of an equalizer and four minutes after falling behind, was only denied by the effort of Haifa 'keeper Nir Davidovitch. Obiora Odita's looping header was making its way to the top corner of the net, but Davidovitch reached it just in time to palm it away. Haifa stormed out of the gate after the break, but it wasn't long before Partizan took control of the match. The Serbs had their first chance of the second half in the 56th minute when Nenad Djordjevic's shot from four meters out was well saved by Davidovitch. Despite its domination of the half, Partizan found scoring chances hard to come by. Five minutes from the final whistle, Djordjevic hit a ferocious volley, but Davidovitch was positioned well and cleared the ball. Hapoel Tel Aviv's match against Paris Saint Germain ended after press time. Rangers advance Glasgow Rangers became the first club to advance to the third round with a 2-2 draw against Auxerre. The Scottish club rallied twice in France. Ireneusz Jelen scored for Auxerre in the 31st minute and Nacho Novo netted in the 62nd to tie it before Daniel Niculae put the French club ahead again in the 75th. Kris Boyd scored the leveler in the 84th.