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Maccabi Haifa recover to edge out Shakhter

Maccabi Haifa FC 2-1 FC Shakhter Karagandy
Shimon Abuhazira's fine strike ten minutes from time completed a stirring comeback as the hosts won the race for third in Group L.

Shimon Abuhazira, pictured earlier this season, struck Maccabi Haifa's winner
Shimon Abuhazira, pictured earlier this season, struck Maccabi Haifa's winner ©Getty Images

Maccabi Haifa FC bowed out of the UEFA Europa League on a high as two goals in the last 18 minutes dragged them back from 1-0 down to defeat FC Shakhter Karagandy.

The visitors looked set to end the first ever campaign in a UEFA club competition group stage for a Kazakh side with the country's maiden win courtesy of Roger Cañas's penalty just before half-time. The Colombian substitute blasted down the centre of the goal, but Shoval Gozlan levelled on 72 minutes and Shimon Abuhazira quickly made it 2-1 with a well-taken goal as Maccabi Haifa finished third in Group L, consigning Shakhter to last spot.

The hosts made much of the early running on a miserable night in Haifa, and Stas Pokatilov had to be at his best to turn wide one low Idan Vered shot after a move as slick as the playing surface. But Shakhter, whose domestic season ended a month ago, gradually found their rhythm. Aldin Džidić had a sweet effort repelled by Amir Edri, but the goalkeeper could do nothing when Cañas stepped up after Ran Abukrat and Andrei Poryvaev tangled in the box.

Shmuel Scheimann had an early sight at goal in the second period, but Shakhter were well on top when a floodlight failure caused a ten-minute suspension in play after the hour. Maccabi Haifa emerged brighter after the resumption and Gozlan got them back on terms, rising to meet Rayo's corner with his shoulder. Abuhazira completed the turnaround, pirouetting on the edge of the box, taking Aldin Džidić out of the game in the process, before arcing a fine shot inside the far post.

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