Israel suffer defeat in Serbia

Israel suffer defeat in Serbia

Elisha Levy's first game in charge of national team ends in a friendly defeat

Andrew Sherwood is the Jewish News Sport and Community Editor

Elisha Levy’s reign as the manager of the Israeli national team got off to a losing start on Tuesday evening.

Using the game as preparation for their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, they fell behind in the 33rd minute when Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, who capitalised on a mistake from 36-year-old goalkeeper Dudu Goresh, who was making his debut for the team.

Eran Zahavi drew the sides level in the 49th minute from the penalty spot, but Nemanja Milunovic’s 74th minute header and Dusan Tadic’s late strike sealed the win for the Serbs.

Levy said: “We arrived at the game after a long and exhausting season. The players were committed throughout the game and I don’t think the result reflected the differences between the teams. We came back to draw 1-1, and that makes the loss all the more disappointing.

“Despite the disappointment, there were a lot of good things during the game. We saw the Israeli team that plays attacking football, and I personally I felt mission and pride. We will find strength and try to continue to improve in the future.”

Zahavi said: “It was exciting to captain Israel for the first time. We are at the beginning and at the moment can’t be compared to Eli Gutman’s reign, I don’t like such comparisons. It’s clear to us we wanted to initiate more, look for the goal. We played in front of a very talented team with strengths, the past European campaign was very messy, but we’re now being rebuilt and it’s clear that there is great potential.”

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