Champions League action returns on Tuesday (18:00), when Maccabi Haifa continue their 2023-24 qualification campaign, as they host Hamrun Spartans in a second-leg tie at Sammy Ofer Stadium.

Haifa take a four-goal advantage into Tuesday’s return fixture, and will have one eye on the second round of qualifying, while newcomers Hamrun face an uphill battle to turn this tie around.

Football Bet of the Day – Tuesday 18th July, 2023

  • Maccabi Haifa to win and under 3.5 total goals @ 21/20

After beating Italian giants Juventus last year, Maccabi Haifa have ambitions of being one of the of 32 teams to battle it out again this autumn. After taking in a four-goal lead in last week’s first leg, they already have one foot in the second qualifying round, where either Farul Constanta or Sheriff Tiraspol will await.

Haifa experienced mixed fortunes in Champions League Group H – being thumped 7-2 and 6-1 by Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica respectively, just weeks after writing themselves into history by toppling Juventus by two goals to nil.

Last Tuesday, Messay Dego’s side got their campaign off to a near-perfect start as they swept aside Champions League newcomers Hamrun Spartans at Centenary Stadium in a straightforward 4-0 victory.

However, the Greens have a crucial Super Cup clash with Beitar Jerusalem on the horizon, so I can see the side being rotated, and Haifa will want to qualify with minimal fuss, which is why I’m backing Haifa to win and under 3.5 goals.

Hamrun Spartans certainly have it all to do here, but if they fail to pull off a monumental turnaround, a place in the Europa Conference League second qualifying round will serve as their consolation prize.

Hamrun’s participation in the qualifying rounds marks the first time Malta have been represented in Europe’s premier club competition since 1991.

They require a small miracle to emerge victorious here, and it’s difficult to overlook Haifa’s quality in front of goal. However, as mentioned above, they have a huge match coming up, which could see some rotation in the starting XI – and as a result, fewer goals.

*All prices correct at the time of publication.

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