ISRCYP

by Andrew Sherwood

Israel’s hopes of qualifying for next year’s European Championships suffered a major blow on Saturday night after were beaten 2-1 by Cyprus in Jerusalem.

Euro 2016 Qualifier Group B:
Israel 1 Cyprus 2
Saturday, 10 October, 2015

Jason Demetriou’s 80th minute strike gave Cyprus their first win in Israel for 55 years, meaning Israel now need to win in Belgium on Tuesday night, while also hoping Bosnia & Herzegovina, who beat Wales 2-0, fail to beat Cyprus, in order to finish third in the group and qualify for a play-off tie.

However, believing his side don’t deserves to finish third in the group after the defeat to Cyprus, manager Eli Guttman said: “This is one of the most disappointing moments in my career. When you have a chance like this and you don’t take it, you don’t deserve to even dream about finishing third.

“There was no implementation of any plan today and I take full responsibility… I have not been able to leave my mark on the team.”

Israel had won their previous eight home matches against the Cypriots, and were favourites to make it nine, having also beaten them 2-1 in the reverse fixture earlier in the group. Spurning several chances in a goalless first half, Dosa Junior headed the visitors ahead in the 55th minute.

Celtic midfielder Nir Bitton gave the 25,300 supporters in the Teddy Kollek Stadium renewed hope with a stunning long-range eqauliser, but right-back Demetriou ensured it was another night of football misery for Israeli supporters when he lashed the ball into the roof of the net just minutes later to seal a momentous win for the Cypriots.

Group Standings:

  P W D L F A Diff Points
Belgium 9 6 2 1 21 4 17 20
Wales 9 5 3 1 9 4 5 18
Bosnia & Herzegovina 9 4 2 3 14 10 4 14
Israel 9 4 1 4 15 11 4 13
Cyprus 9 4 0 5 14 14 0 12
Andorra 9 0 0 9 4 34 -30 0