Haifa hit Glentoran for six
Five second half goals helped Israeli champions Maccabi Haifa take a giant step into the third qualifying round after they hit Glentoran for six at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium on Wednesday night.
With national coach Dror Kashtan and his assistant Moshe Sinai in the stands, Maccabi were somewhat lacklustre in a tepid first half.
The broke the deadlock close to half time when Lior Refaelov coolly side-footed home from 10 yards.
Haifa must have received a half time grilling as they came out for the second half all guns blazing.
Ex-West Ham star Yaniv Katan scored goal of the game on 48 minutes. An audacious shimmy saw him lose his marker before he curled a sumptuous effort curling into the top corner. Kashtan must have been impressed.
Georgian debutant Vladimir Davashvilly made it 3-0 minutes later with a powerful downward header.
Glentoran were out for the count but a relentless Haifa continue the punishment. Davashvilly became an instant favourite with the fans after latching on to a great long diagonal pass before chesting and volleying across visiting keeper Elliott Morris.
Haifa were not finished and a bullet header from supersub Shlomi Arbeitman made it 5-0.
Arab player Muhammed Gadir completed the rout with goal number six.
The return leg, which should be a formality, takes place in Northern Ireland next Wednesday.
Assuming Haifa progress, they will go into the third qualifying round with the winner reaching the playoff stage where successful teams reach the group stages of the competition.
Haifa: Nir Davidovitch, Eyal Meshomar, Dekel Keinan, George Tixiera, Pitter Mesilala, John Kulma, Biram Kial, Lior Refaelov, Muhammed Gadir, Vladimir Davashvilly, Yaniv Katan
Glentoran: Elliott Morris, Colin Nixon, Kyle Neil, Richard Clarre, Paul Leeman, Shon Word, Gary Hamilton, Andy Waterworth, Jonny Taylor, Johnny Black, Daryl Foraidis
Referee: Alexi Nicolayev, Assistant referees: Elia Barahnikov, Alexy Charlamav. 4th official: Almir Kayomov