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Israeli champions Maccabi Haifa advanced to the UEFA Champions League playoffs after securing a 3-1 home win over Slovak champions Slovan Bratislava in the second-leg match of the third qualifying round.
Haifa, who also prevailed in the first leg in Bratislava, will face Swiss champions Young Boys Bern in the playoffs, following a home-away format, reports Xinhua.
Around 30,000 fans at the Sammy Ofer Stadium in the northern city of Haifa witnessed a strong start by the visitors. Haifa goalkeeper Itamar Nitzan was forced into action by headers from Sharani Zuberu and Alexandar Cavric on four and eight minutes respectively.
However, Haifa took the lead on the scoreboard after a precise pass from Surinamese captain Tjarron Chery and a close-range header by Haitian striker Frantzdy Pierrot in the 29th minute.
Chery's shot nearly doubled the score in the 42nd minute but was saved by goalkeeper Milan Borjan. Nonetheless, the home captain set up the second goal for striker Dia Saba just before halftime.
Slovan registered their lone goal in the 85th minute, with Croatian midfielder Marko Tolic netting from close range following a Nino Marcelli pass.
Haifa's substitute striker Din David tallied the final goal in the 93rd minute after a third assist by Chery.
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