Haifa reach Europa League group stages

Two Israeli clubs will be involved in the group stages of this season's Europa League competition after Maccabi Haifa joined Maccabi Tel Aviv following a 3-1 aggregate win over Astra.

Leading 2-0 from the home leg, Haifa drew 1-1 with the Romanians on Thursday night. Valerica Gaman gave Astra hope with a 27th strike, but the two-goal lead was restored seven minutes later when Rayo converted a free-kick - scoring the all-important away goal to end Astra's hopes.

Haifa boss Arik Benado said: "We accomplished our goal of reaching the group stage and I’m proud of my players who didn’t panic despite going a goal down."

The draw for the group stage takes place in Monaco on today, with Haifa placed in the third seeding pot and Tel Aviv in the fourth pot.

    Last updated: 10:58am, August 30 2013