Israel falls to Poland 2-1 in UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying

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Israel fell 2-1 to Poland on Matchday 9 of UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem. The blue-and-white fell behind early as Grzegorz Krychowiak scored for the visitors in the first half and Krzysztof Piatek added a goal in the second but a late Monas Dabbur strike gave Israel hope. However, Coach Andi Herzog’s team couldn’t find a last gasp equalizer as they were officially eliminated from qualifying and will now have to rely on finding their way into the European Championships via the Nations League Playoffs.

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Poland pressed Israel right from the get go as Piotr Zielinski and Sebastian Szymanski each had chances to beat the blue-and-white shot stopper Ofir Marciano in the 3rd minute but came up short. However, less than a minute later Andi Herzog’s squad conceded a corner kick that landed right by Lokomotiv Moscow’s midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak who slammed the ball past a helpless Marciano to give Poland an early 1-0 lead.

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The visitors came close to doubling their advantage in the 22nd minute when Zielinski played a gorgeous ball from the center of the box to the right where AC Milan Krzysztof Piatek was waiting bit his attention just missed the goal and went out. Five minutes later, Israeli central defender Loai Taha and Marciano then got their signals crossed in the area conceding an indirect free kick that Zielinski had blocked by the blue-and-white defense to safety.

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Piatek’s off balance attempt from the right side beat Marciano but grasped the left post as the score remained as is heading into the 35th minute. Przemyslaw Frankowski laced a chance three minutes later but Marciano made a terrific instinctive save while Krychowiak’s stunner of an opportunity was parried away by the Israel keeper.

Herzog was forced to make a substitute in the 41st minute as an injured Taha came off for attacking midfielder Dolev Haziza who made his Israel National Team debut as Poland went into the break with a 1-0 lead.

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Unfortunately for Israel the second half began exactly the first half did with another early goal off a corner for Poland as an active Zielinski sent the ball into the area for Piatek to put behind a helpless Marciano after hitting the post in the 56th minute for a 2-0 advantage. Israel had their first legitimate chance of the game two minutes later when Monas Dabbur received the ball in the box from Haziza who streaked down the right side, but his shot was smothered by Juventus keeper Wojciech Szczesny.

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Both sides made substitutes soon thereafter as Bayern Munich superstar striker Robert Lewandowski entered the contest in favor of Szymanski while Sun Menachem came on for Omri Ben Harush. A quiet Eran Zahavi finally unleashed a powerful thumper but his attempt just went wide left of the goal as Israel began controlling the play.

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Zahavi and Haziza each had opportunities but it was Dabbur who finally broke through with a tough angled shot to beat Szczesny’s and pull Israel to 2-1 in the 86th minute. However, the strike was too little, too late as the blue-and-white was eliminated from UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying as Herzog’s team will now have to count on the Nations League playoffs as their last chance to enter the competition.

Dov Halickman Photography