László Köteles saved two penalties in the penalty shoot-out to help propel KRC Genk into the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time since 2002/03 at the expense of Maccabi Haifa FC.
Long before the spot-kick drama, though, the game had burst into life with three goals in rapid succession. Jelle Vossen struck first for the home side after 35 minutes, Eyal Golasa replied almost immediately for Haifa, but Thomas Buffel soon fired Pierre Denier's men back in front. The tie then remained locked at 3-3 into and through extra time. In the resultant shoot-out Genk prevailed 4-1.
Needing to score to progress, Genk started on the front foot. Daniel Pudil had the first clear opening after a slick interchange of passes with Elyaniv Barda but his shot was blocked by Nir Davidovitch. Only a last-ditch sliding clearance by Eyal Meshumar then denied Barda from reaching Kennedy Nwanganga's probing low cross.
Vossen was next to threaten, but his header from an excellent Pudil centre flew wide with half an hour gone. However, his moment was not long in coming. When Itzhak Cohen dispossessed Nwanganga inside the box the ball fell to the 22-year-old Belgium striker, who rifled it past Davidovitch.
The euphoria inside the compact stadium lasted a mere two minutes. That was when the lively Idan Vered drifted in from the right and found Golasa, who curled an exquisite shot past Köteles from the edge of the box. Yet four minutes later the Belgian champions were once again in front, Buffel firing in from 20 metres after pouncing on a loose ball.
Meshumar was the first to threaten after the break, but his shot after a strong run from wide on the right was deflected behind by Torben Joneleit. At the other end, Davidovitch brilliantly raced out to block as another substitute, Marvin Ogunjimi, broke clear.
With no further goals the tie moved into extra time. Vossen put a free header over and also shot too high during the early exchanges. Weaam Amasha came within a whisker of glory for the visitors on 105 minutes, but Joneleit deflected his side-footed effort against a post. Cohen was dismissed for a second booking with ten minutes to go but his side held on − only to fall at the final hurdle.
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