Gent crash out of Europe in front of empty stadium as 10-man Maccabi Haifa hold on

Gent’s Europa Conference League campaign came to an end at the hands of Israeli league leaders Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday evening. The Belgian side had to play in front of an empty stadium after the city authorities ruled that no fans would be in attendance due to fears around security.

In a game that felt like a return to the times of COVID-19, Maccabi Haifa’s hero from the first leg, Frantzdy Pierrot, grabbed another goal as his deflected strike looped in over Davy Roef. Gent pushed for an equaliser in the first half but were unable to find a way passed young goalkeeper Sharif Kaiuf.

Yet midway through the second half they gave themselves a lifeline. Tarik Tissoudali’s deflected shot found the net, with Daniel Sundgren getting a second yellow card to reduce the visitors to 10 men just a few minutes later. Gent pushed for the equaliser, but Kaiuf and the Israeli sides defence held firm. With time running down, Gent’s best chance came as Omri Gendelman’s header hit the post.

The Buffaloes will be frustrated that a tie that they had enough chances to win over two legs has somehow slipped away from them. They must now return their focus to domestic matters as they look to finish the regular season in the top six.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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