Israel’s saw their hopes of automatically qualifying for next summer’s European Championships suffer a major setback on Tuesday night after they were beaten 1-0 in Jerusalem by ten-man Belgium.
Euro 2016 Qualifier Group B:
Israel 0 Belgium 1
Tuesday, 31 March, 2015
Going into the game on the back of Saturday’s 3-0 home defeat by Wales, the Israelis looked to get off to a quick start and although former Chelsea striker Ben Sahar had a half chance blocked with less than a minute on the clock, they produced a lackluster, tepid first half display.
Belgium, fielding a wealth of Premier League stars didn’t need any extra help to get the upper hand, but they got a stroke of luck when Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini bundled the ball into the back of the net in the ninth minute, however, Vincent Kompany, whose shot created the chance seemed to be in an offside position in the build-up to the goal.
Offering nothing as an attacking force in the first half, Belgium looked content to play the ball around in their own half, which led to a pretty much non-spectacle of a match.
Needing to show more attacking threat in the second half, the Israelis gave their fans something to shot about when
Eran Zahavi tested Thibaut Courtois in the Belgian goal with a couple of long-range efforts.
Their hopes of salvaging something from the game seemed to gain further momentum, when first Eden Hazard was substituted, and then in the 64th minute, Kompany was shown a second yellow card by English referee Mark Clattenburg.
However, while Israel then certainly upped the pressure, a failure to put balls into the box, instead opting to try and score the perfect goal, meant they failed to create any real notable chances, as they fell to their second home defeat in three games, and dropped down to third in the table.
Israel next travel to Bosnia in June, and if they can secure a double over the Bosnians, will move back into the top-two of the table as Wales host Belgium.
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