Bentwood hails comeback kings
Steve Bentwood hailed his comeback kings as Manchester Maccabi claimed their place in the semi-finals of the Harold Feldman Trophy.
Traling 2-0 with just eight minutes remaining, Maccabi rallied to take the game into extra time through goals from Sam Calmonson and Max Lee.
With the score at 2-1, Bentwood’s men looked to be crashing out when Rafi Leeker missed a penalty in the dying stages.
But Lee’s scrambled injury-time effort breathed new life into Maccabi, with Jake Kelly and Calmonson’s second wrapping up an unlikely victory.
“It was a really great game,” said Bentwood.
“The teams were very evenly matched, but I think our younger legs and our fitness probably told in the end.
“We looked like we were finished, but when Sam scored, it seemed to lift the boys. Once we equalised there was only one team who was going to win it.
“They looked deflated and we really stepped it up. It was a great win.”
Maccabi had looked dead and buried once Dan Linton had added to Jack Lee’s second half-penalty.
But with just eight minutes remaining, Calmonson rose highest at the far post to head home from close-range.
That signalled the start of a Maccabi onslaught and Leeker should have equalised from the spot only for his effort to be brilliantly saved by Nic Ingram.
With time running out, Maccabi threw caution to the wind and Lee scrambled home from inside the penalty area after South failed to clear a corner kick.
The visitors then ensured their place in the last four of the competition courtesy of Kelly’s stunning overhead kick before Calmonson grabbed his second to seal the win.
Nathan Ezair wasted a glorious opportunity to pull a goal back for South and set up a grandstand finish, but Maccabi held on to complete a memorable win.
“When we got back to 2-2 we were in the ascendancy at that really showed in extra-time,” said Bentwood.
“I think we deserved to win overall but it was just a great game to be involved in.”