Israel’s football team failed to pick up a much-needed win as they slumped to a 2-1 home defeat by Romania on Saturday night.
With the side still without a manager – though an appointment is expected to be announced next month, Alon Hazan, who takes charge of the U19 national team, was in the dugout in Netanya, and did see his side take the lead on the hour mark when Brighton & Hove Albion striker Tomer Hemed, neatly flicked the ball home.
Choosing to call up a somewhat experimental squad, ten of the 22 players were enjoying their first call up to the national squad, six of whom got on the field of play.
Hemed’s goal was his last contribution of the game, with him being substituted immediately after, and it took the visitors just four minutes to draw level, through Nicolae Stanciu with a stunning long-range strike. They scored their winner eight minutes from time when George Tucudean found himself clean through on goal, and he made no mistake with another composed finish.
Hazan said afterwards: “It’s a shame we wasted the first half by playing poorly. We played better in the second half but unfortunately we couldn’t score a second goal. The players that came on at the break changed the game and I hope that the next coach will be able to take something from this match.
“Every coach has his own outlook and he will have decide what to do. I’m always disappointed when my team loses but I’m encouraged by the fact that we showed an improvement after the first half. I hope the players understand that only hard work will bring results and I think the future is bright.”
The side next face Argentina in a prestigious friendly in June, the South Americans using the game as a final warm-up game ahead of the World Cup, while Israel’s next competitive game is nearly six months away, when they begin their UEFA League of Nations campaign, away in Albania on 7 September.