Zahavi and Itzhaki lead MTA to memorable win
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Maccabi Tel Aviv moved to within two points of top spot in Europa League Group F after claiming a memorable 4-2 victory over group leaders Eintracht Frankfurt in Israel.
The Israelis were beaten 2-0 by the Germans in their last match, but they bounced back in style with Eran Zahavi and Barak Itzhaki registered twice each at Bloomfield Stadium.
Maccabi stormed into a three-goal lead inside 35 minutes. Zahavi put the hosts ahead after 14 minutes after Nikola Mitrović's pass caused confusion in the Frankfurt box. Itzhaki then put Maccabi in dreamland with a double in five first-half minutes. First he headed Omri Ben Harush's cross into the bottom corner and five minutes later, the 29-year-old added a third with a fine chip over Kevin Trapp following a pass from Zahavi.
Frankfurt rallied and quickfire strikes from Srdjan Lakić and Alexander Meier set up a grandstand finish before Zahavi's injury-time penalty ended any hope of a dramatic draw.
Maccabi boss Paulo Sousa said: “The players proved what character they have and showed they can perform at the highest level.
"It's not easy to cope with Frankfurt who play fast, intensive football throughout the 90 minutes.
"I'm proud of the players. They deserved this and I hope it gives them the energy to provide more historic nights like this."
Maccabi Haifa's hopes are all but over following a goalless draw at home to second-place PAOK in Group L.
Haifa's Hen Erza came closest to breaking the deadock but he was denied by the woodwork in the second half.