Saturday, March 26, 2011
Israel beats Latvia 2-1 in Euro 2012 qualifying
Celtic midfielder Beram Kayal scored the winner in the 81st minute Saturday to give Israel a 2-1 win over Latvia in a 2012 European Championship qualifier.
Israel was in control for much of the game and stayed in fourth place in Group F with seven points from five games.
Elyaniv Barda had put Israel in front in the 16th minute only to see Latvia captain Kaspar Gorkss equalize halfway through the second half, before Keyal sealed the win with a header.
Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun was on the bench for Israel but did not make an appearance.
Israel's Bibras Natcho had the first chance of the game in the eighth minute, shooting from well outside the area and forcing a diving save from Andris Vanins, who palmed the ball away for a corner.
The home team remained comfortably in control until Barda scored the opener. The Genk striker capitalized on a period of sustained Israeli pressure to knock in Lior Rafaelov's cross from close range.
Rafaelov nearly added a second 10 minutes before halftime when he dribbled through several defenders into the area only to loft a shot over the crossbar.
Latvia had few opportunities in the first half, with Deniss Ivanovs' long-range effort in the 42nd minute sailing high over the bar.
The second period saw Israel constantly threaten the Latvian goal, but it was the visitors who equalized against the run of play in the 62nd when Gorkss fired in from a free kick.
The goal changed the pace of the game, with the Latvians growing in confidence and suddenly surging forward at every opportunity.
Israel coach Luis Fernandez attempted to shake things up by bringing on Hapoel Tel Aviv striker Ben Sahar in place of defender Yoav Ziv. The subsequent increase in Israeli pressure nearly paid off in the 72nd minute when Rami Gershon headed just wide. But Israel finally regained the lead when Kayal cleverly headed in a lobbed ball from substitute Maor Buzaglo.
Israel: Dudu Aouate, Taleb Tawatha, Itzik Cohen, Rami Gershon, Tal Ben Haim, Yoav Ziv (Ben Sahar, 66), Beram Kayal, Bibras Natcho, Lior Refaelov (Gili Vermut, 84), Elyaniv Barda (Maor Buzaglo, 69), Omer Damari.
Latvia: Andris Vanins, Ritus Krjauklis, Deniss Ivanovs, Kaspars Gorkss, Deniss Kacanovs, Ivans Lukjanovs, Maksims Rafalsis (Jurijs Zigajevs, 58), Artis Lzadins, Andrejs Rubins (Andrejs Pereplotkins, 58), Maris Verpakovskis (Daniils Turkovs, 73), Artjoms Rudnevs.