Maccabi Haifa fell to Villarreal 2-1 in frantic fashion as the Spaniards scored a pair of late goals to snatch the victory from the jaws of defeat. The defeat kept the Greens in last place in Group F with 1 point in Europa League play with three games remaining.
The Greens took a 1-0 lead as Abdoulaye Seck scored in the 30th minute but Villarreal had a chance to draw even soon thereafter from the penalty spot. However, keeper Shareef Keouf stymied Alexander Sorloth not once but twice as the penalty needed to be retaken as Mesay Dego’s team went into the break in front.
Haifa was able to keep the La Liga side at bay for the majority of the second half, but Alex Baena found the equalizer in the 82nd minute while Sorloth scored the winner just minutes later to hand Villarreal the points.
“We missed out and it’s really disappointing,” Haifa head coach Messay Dego said following the game. “I really wanted to bring this win to our country of Israel. The guys really surprised me with their play considering the situation and I told them that. They should be proud of their performance. To come into the game and play as equals with a La Liga club who are in game shape and playing regularly is something that I am not taking for granted.”