Elyaniv Barda used to be a hero in Haifa. Now the Israel star could be the man to deprive his former club of a Champions League place.
Having won two league titles with Maccabi Haifa between 2003-5, Barda dealt his former team-mates a massive blow after netting a crucial away goal in Wednesday's first leg for Belgian champions Genk.The 29-year-old smashed home a 61st minute effort to reduce the deficit to 2-1 after Haifa had threatened to run riot in the first-half.
Maccabi will now have their work cut in Belgium next week, despite Genk facing the prospect of starting the game without a full-time manager.
Boss Franky Vercauteren has signed a lucrative deal with United Arab Emirates club Al Jazira and is unlikely to be in charge.
Haifa will hope they can pull off a repeat performance of their early display, when they dominated Genk with some fast and flowing one-touch football.
Elisha Levi's side got off to the perfect start.
Genk were left shellshocked as in-form strike duo Weeam Amasha and Vladimir Dvalishvili ran them ragged, with both netting inside the half-hour.
Amasha's eighth minute opener - his fourth of the qualifying campaign - looked to have set the tone for the evening as the home side roared out of the traps.
Dvalishvili then smashed the crossbar with a rasping free-kick before doubling Haifa's advantage, turning home Eyal Golasa's pinpoint cross.
As the Greens pressed forward in search of a third, Amasha and Golasa both wasted decent opportunities.
Those misses were to prove crucial as old boy Barda wriggled free of the Haifa defence to fire a crucial away goal just past the hour mark.
It reflected a markedly improved second-half performance by Genk, who are set to welcome back Chelsea target Kevin de Bruyne for Tuesday's second leg.
Only a stunning last-gasp save by Nir Davidovitch prevented Kennedy Nwanganga from claiming a dramatic equaliser.
Haifa are expected to have defender Jurica Buljat back from suspension for the second leg. Former Bolton man Tamir Cohen is pushing for a start.