Hapoel Beersheba grabs last-minute victory over Inter Milan
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Hapoel Beersheba grabs last-minute victory over Inter Milan

Local champion comes back from two goals down to take Europe League soccer match 3-2

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Hapoel Beesheba's players celebrate after winning the UEFA Europa League group K football match against Italy's Inter Milan at the Turner Stadium in the southern city of Beersheba, November 24, 2016. (AFP/Gil Cohen-Magen)
Hapoel Beesheba's players celebrate after winning the UEFA Europa League group K football match against Italy's Inter Milan at the Turner Stadium in the southern city of Beersheba, November 24, 2016. (AFP/Gil Cohen-Magen)

Local soccer team Hapoel Beersheba made a remarkable comeback Thursday to beat Italian rivals Inter Milan after being two goals down in a UEFA Europa League match.

During the tense game at the Turner Stadium in Beersheba the visiting team’s goalkeeper Samir Handanovic was sent off for a foul against Hapoal’s Maor Buzaglo.

The result leaves the Beersheba team, who are Israel’s national champions, with seven points and needing just a draw against England’s Southampton in its game on December 8 to advance to the next stage behind group leader, Sparta Prague, which has 12 points.

Inter Milan scored just 13 minutes into the game to take an early lead and then again in the 25th minute.

Hapoel Beersheba’s Anthony Nwakaeme shoots by Inter Milan's Marcelo Brozovic during their Europa League Group K soccer match in Beersheba, southern Israel, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Hapoel Beersheba’s Anthony Nwakaeme shoots by Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic during their Europa League Group K soccer match in Beersheba, southern Israel, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

In the second half Hapoel rallied and scored in the 58th minute. It was in the 68th minute that Handanovic brought down Buzaglo as the Hapoel player advanced towards the Inter goal area, earning Handovic a red card and the hosts a penalty kick that produced the equalizing goal.

As the game drew to a close and moved into injury time, Hapoel finally scored the winning goal, through striker Ben Sahar, in the 93rd minute.

The other Israeli team in the contest is Maccabi Tel Aviv, which went down to Zenit St. Petersburg. Zenit maintained a perfect record after a 2-0 home win against Maccabi in Group D.

Inter is one of Europe’s finest teams, whereas Hapoel Beersheba’s rise to the domestic league championship last season caught the country by surprise. The last time the two teams met, at Inter’s San Siro stadium in September, Hapoel won a startling 2-0 victory.

The UEFA Europa League Final will be played at the Friends Arena in Solna, Sweden, in 2017.

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