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Europa Conference League | Round of 16 | 1st Leg
Mar 7, 2024 at 8pm UK
Sammy Ofer Stadium
Fiorentina logo

M. Haifa
3 - 4

Seck (12'), Kinda (29'), Khalaili (67')
Mohamed (10'), Dego (56'), Cafumana (69')
Cafumana (80')
FT(HT: 2-1)
N'Zola (2'), Beltran (58'), Mandragora (73'), Barak (90+5')
Italiano (45+2'), Kayode (84'), Milenkovic (87')

Preview: Maccabi Haifa vs. Fiorentina - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa Conference League clash between Maccabi Haifa and Fiorentina, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Maccabi Haifa hope to stun Fiorentina on Thursday when they take on the Italian side in their Europa Conference League last-16 first-leg clash at Bozsik Arena.

The Israeli side defeated Gent 2-1 on aggregate in the playoffs after dropping down from the Europa League, while Vincenzo Italiano's troops are on a mission to make another final after the previous season's loss at the last hurdle.

Match preview

Maccabi Haifa's Frantzdy Pierrot celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on February 15, 2024© Reuters

Messay Dego's men could only secure five points in their Europa League group-stage campaign, significantly shy of Villarreal (13) and Rennes (12), thus seeing them fall into the Conference League.

They avoided the ignominy of exiting Europe entirely after eliminating Belgian side Gent in the playoff round and face possibly the competition's favourites alongside Aston Villa, keen to land a punch on last year's runners-up.

The Greens head into this week's fixture in fine form, underscored by an eight-match undefeated run since a 2-1 loss at the home of Hapoel Be'er Sheva on January 31.

Only two of those games did not end in victories, emphasising Maccabi's performances and results since the start of February, and they hope to continue that unbeaten streak in March.

The Israeli side proved themselves capable against Serie A opponents in last season's Champions League — the Greens beat Juventus 2-0 on their turf — and seek another scalp this week against Fiorentina.

Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Italiano during the match on January 9, 2024© Reuters

I Viola are on a mission to secure a continental title, having gone close last season before defeat in the final against West Ham prevented Italiano's men from securing a European crown for the first time since the 1960-61 campaign in the defunct Cup Winners' Cup.

Italiano's men went unbeaten in their Conference League group, but three draws and as many defeats meant the club from Florence accrued 12 points, a joint-lowest points tally for the competition's group-stage winner — Fenerbahce also had 12.

Fiorentina's experience navigating the Conference League knockout phase should stand them in good stead over their tie with Maccabi, even if that alone will not be enough to surmount the Israeli club.

This is an upshot of the Serie A side's mixed form heading into the game, further casting doubts over Italiano's men, who have won three of 11 games in all competitions in 2024, with one of those victories being Coppa Italia success against Bologna on penalties.

The Viola hope a return to continental football motivates them to improve performances, but the Serie A side must raise their game to avoid a sixth defeat in the new year.

Maccabi Haifa Europa Conference League form:

Maccabi Haifa form (all competitions):

Fiorentina Europa Conference League form:

Fiorentina form (all competitions):

Team News

Maccabi Haifa's Daniel Sundgren is shown a red card by referee Matej Jug on February 21, 2024© Reuters

Frantzdy Pierrot, scorer of both Maccabi goals in their 2-1 aggregate win over Gent, is the undoubted star player for the home side on Thursday.

Daniel Sundgren was sent off in the reverse fixture in Belgium, thus ruling out the defender against Fiorentina.

Ali Mohamed is doubtful after his 26th-minute exit against Hapoel Hadera at the weekend.

Lucas Martinez Quarta and Christian Kouame are touch-and-go for Tuesday, while Oliver Christensen and Gaetano Castrovilli are expected to be sidelined for a few more weeks.

Quarta's goals from defence could be missed against Maccabi, especially as Fiorentina's leading goalscorer is Luca Ranieri (three goals), while Lucas Beltran and Jonathan Ikone have two each.

Maccabi Haifa possible starting lineup:
Kaiuf; Feingold, Seck, Goldberg; Khalaili, Kasa, Show, Cornud; Kinda, Refaelov; Pierrot

Fiorentina possible starting lineup:
Terracciano; Kayode, Milenkovic, Ranieri, Biraghi; Bonaventura, Arthur; Gonzalez, Beltran, Sottil; Belotti

SM words green background

We say: Maccabi Haifa 1-1 Fiorentina

The spoils could be shared in the first leg of this tie, leaving both sides with everything to play for in next week's reverse fixture in Florence.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Group A

QSlovan Bratislava631210

Group B

QM. Tel Aviv650115

Group C

QDinamo Zagreb63039
4KF Ballkani61144

Group D


Group E

QAston Villa641113
4Zrinjski Mostar61144

Group F


Group G

4HJK Helsinki60242

Group H

4Spartak Trnava60151

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