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Four-goal Maccabi Tel-Aviv stun Frankfurt

Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC 4-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
Eran Zahavi and Barak Itzhaki struck twice each as the Israeli champions gave the Group F leaders a torrid time in Tel Aviv.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv's Barak Itzhaki celebrates after scoring twice in the space of five first-half minutes
Maccabi Tel-Aviv's Barak Itzhaki celebrates after scoring twice in the space of five first-half minutes ©AFP/Getty Images

Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC kept up the pressure at the top of UEFA Europa League Group F after surviving a spirited comeback effort from Eintracht Frankfurt at Bloomfield Stadium.

Paulo Sousa's side took an early lead through Eran Zahavi before his strike partner Barak Itzhaki further raised the temperature with two goals in five first-half minutes. Srdjan Lakić and Alexander Meier struck in similarly quick succession after the interval to get Eintracht back in the game, but Zahavi's added-time penalty ended any hope of a dramatic draw.

The visitors did not concede in their first three Group F matches, yet they found themselves three down after 35 minutes. Zahavi got the first, smashing the ball into the net from close range after the Frankfurt defence had failed to clear Nikola Mitrović's chip into the area, and Itzhaki doubled the lead when he headed Omri Ben Harush's fine cross into the bottom corner. Five minutes later, the 29-year-old added a third with a fine chip over Kevin Trapp after collecting Zahavi's knockdown on the edge of the area.

The Bundesliga side barely left their own half before the interval but almost pulled a goal back immediately after the break. Constant Djakpa whipped in a low cross and although Juan Pablo punched clear, the ball hit Meier and spun just wide of the post. Eintracht finally cracked a solid Maccabi Tel-Aviv defence when Lakić headed in Stephan Schröck's cross, and just four minutes later Meier reduced the deficit to one from the spot after Sheran Yeini handled in the box.

As Eintracht pushed for an equaliser, Maccabi Tel-Aviv substitute Rade Prica could have sealed the victory on the counterattack, but, with the last kick of the game, Zahavi's chipped penalty added some gloss to the Israeli champions' second win of the group stage.