Over the years there have been some memorable extra-time goals in soccer. Remember this one?
Or this one?
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I could do this all day.
On Wednesday night, on a much smaller stage, FC Basel scored an 88th minute goal at St Jakob Park in the first leg of their Champions Leg playoff fixture against Maccabi Tel Aviv to go up 2:1 just before second half extra time. It was, in truth, a well-earned goal. Basel dominated possession, 68%-32%, earned 10 corners to Maccabi’s 1, and completed 488 more passes than the visitors. You read that right. 488.
With that goal, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Maccabi Tel Aviv would head back to Israel with yes, an away goal, but also a one-goal deficit to try to overcome at home next week. But in a stunning counterstroke against the run of play, more than 6 minutes into second half injury time Eran Zahavi hung in the air for what seemed like an eternity before heading a crossing ball off the post and into the net, grabbing a second away goal and a shocking 2:2 draw for Maccabi. A finer header you will never see- but see it here at the 6:45 mark of the video and pay particular attention to both the slow-mo replay at 7:30 and the phenomenal reaction of the Israeli announcers.
It was Zahavi’s second goal of the night and his golden boot is getter brighter every day- his two goals in Basel now puts his Champions League tally at 14 in 24 career games. That, coupled with his two goals on the opening day of play in Israeli’s Ligat Ha’al, are only growing the legend that is Zahavi, who is without a doubt Israel’s finest offensive player of this generation.
Tuesday night will see Basel making the trip to Bloomfield, with Maccabi ready to defend their home turf and a Champions League group stage berth and concomitant huge payday on the line for the winners. Maccabi will advance to the Champions League group stages with a win or a 0:0 or 1:1 draw, with a 2:2 draw sending the match to extra time and any draw in which they concede more than 3 goals, or an outright loss, sending them into the Europa League group stage.
With Zahavi only improving, a hot and humid evening on tap, and a Basel team fresh off a soul-crushing home draw, it appears that things might just be breaking for Maccabi. While the game will not be shown live, set your DVR for the rebroadcast at 8 am on Wednesday on Fox Sports 2.