Rukavytsya opens Maccabi account

Former Socceroo Nikita Rukavytsya opened his account for new club Maccabi Haifa overnight but it wasn’t enough as they bowed out of the Europa League.

In his second appearance for Maccabi since his off-season switch from Beitar Jerusalem, Rukavytsya opened the scoring from the penalty spot on 34 minutes.

However, little-known Estonian opponents Nomme Kalju equalised in the final minute of the match, sending it into extra time after a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Haifa.

The contest went to a penalty shootout where Rukavytsya converted his spotkick but his side went down 5-3 in a shock result.

The 29-year-old signed a three-year deal with Maccabi in June for approximately AU$610,000 after finishing as the equal second top scorer in the Israeli Premier League in 2015-16.

Rukavytsya has 13 Socceroos caps to his name but hasn’t played for Australia since October 2013, when Aurelio Vidmar was caretaker coach.