Israeli Premier League runners-up Maccabi Haifa beat FC Kairat Almaty of Kazakhstan 2-1 at home on Thursday in the second round of the UEFA Europa League qualification.
The single-leg match was played behind closed doors at Sammy Ofer Stadium in the northern city of Haifa.
The Israeli club scored the opening goal in a clever team execution of a free kick from 20 meters in the 30th minute. Instead of shooting on goal, Dutch midfielder Tjaronn Chery produced an impressive pass to Australian striker Nikita Rukavytsya, who passed to midfielder Yuval Ashkenazi for an easy goal.
The Kazakh Super League runners-up evened the score two minutes before halftime, as Brazilian star Vagner Love found the net after an accurate pass from captain Gafurzhan Suyumbayev.
Rukavytsya scored the winning goal in the 71st minute, after a pass by the substitute midfielder Dolev Haziza.
A second equalizer by Vagner Love in the 80th minute was disallowed by Danish referee Mads-Kristoffer Kristoffersen due to a controversial offside decision and the hosts kept their lead until the final whistle.
Maccabi Haifa now face Russian side FC Rostov in a single-leg match of the third qualifying round, to be played in Russia on September 24.