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Amasha reflects on dream debut for Maccabi Haifa

Weaam Amasha said he "couldn't have wished for a better debut" after scoring a hat-trick against FK Borac Banja Luka but warned it will count for nothing if Maccabi Haifa FC fail to go on.

Maccabi Haifa coach Elisha Levi
Maccabi Haifa coach Elisha Levi ©UEFA.com

Israel forward Weaam Amasha says his debut hat-trick in Maccabi Haifa FC's 5-1 win against FK Borac Banja Luka on Wednesday will count for nothing if his team fail to book a return to the UEFA Champions League group stage.

Ligat Ha'Al champions Haifa trailed 1-0 in the second qualifying round first leg towards half-time at the Kiryat Eliazer Stadium when Amasha found the much-needed equaliser. Yet it was his performance after the break that really caught the eye, as the 25-year-old summer signing from Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC completed his treble with goals on 71 and 73 minutes.

"I couldn't have wished for a better debut," the striker said. "Everything worked well for us, especially in the second half. The gaffer [Elisha Levi] gave us some very good instructions at half-time and the [39th-minute] introduction of Vladimir Dvalishvili gave us another option up front. It completely confused their defence."

The champions of Bosnia and Herzegovina certainly looked lost when hosts Haifa netted three times in as many minutes, with Amasha's second-half double sandwiching a goal from substitute Bamidele Yampolsky. Eyal Golasa sealed the resounding victory with a spectacular 80th-minute effort, leaving Levi's men in pole position to reach the third qualifying round.

The Greens, however, are looking well beyond that, to a repeat of their group stage run in 2009/10. "I'm delighted but it will mean nothing if we don't qualify," said Amasha. "If we advance at the expense of Borac then we must reach the Champions League group stage. If not then it is not worth it. With God's help we will make it."