UEFA Soccer: Mac Haifa advances after easy win against Glentoran
Haifa next faces Aktobe of Kazakhstan, which completed a 6-0 aggregate victory over FH Hafnarfj?rdur of Iceland on Wednesday.
By ALLON SINAI
Maccabi Haifa cruised into the third qualifying round of the Champions League as expected on Wednesday, defeating Glentoran 4-0 in Belfast to complete a 10-0 aggregate victory.
Haifa next faces Aktobe of Kazakhstan, which completed a 6-0 aggregate victory over FH HafnarfjÃ¶rdur of Iceland on Wednesday.
The first leg will take place next Tuesday in Kazakhstan, with the return leg to be played the following week at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.
The third qualifying round is followed by a two-legged playoff, from which the winner will advance to the Champions League group stage.
Haifa was the first Israeli team to qualify for the group stage in 2002, with Maccabi Tel Aviv the only other Israeli club to do so since, reaching the group stage in 2004.
The tie against Glentoran was effectively over after Haifa thrashed the Northern Irish team 6-0 in the first leg last week and Wednesday's return leg was indeed no more than a formality.
Yero Bello gave Haifa the lead in the eighth minute and scored his second goal of the match eight minutes into the second half.
Defender Peter Masilela added to Glentoran's misery with a goal in the 62nd minute and substitute Shlomi Arbeitman completed the rout in stoppage time.
On Thursday, Maccabi Netanya and Bnei Yehuda will look to join Hapoel Tel Aviv in the third qualifying round of the Europa League.
Netanya hosts Malta's Sliema Wanderers after ending the first leg in a disappointing 0-0 draw.
"We are a better team than Sliema and we will have to prove it on the field," midfielder Ravid Gazal said. "We reached plenty of scoring opportunities last week, but failed to find the back of the net. If we play with the rhythm in which we've been practicing we will be okay."
Netanya is set for a lucrative third qualifying round tie against Turkish giant Galatasaray, which is expected to overcome Tobol Kostanay of Kazakhstan.
Bnei Yehuda will be hoping to cruise into the third qualifying round when it visits Dinaburg FC of Latvia.
Bnei Yehuda thrashed the Latvians 4-0 last week and assuming all goes well on Thursday it will next face the winner of the tie between FC PaÃ§os de Ferreira of Portugal and FC Zimbru Chisinau of Moldova, which drew 0-0 in the first leg in Moldova last week.
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