Israel defeated Austria 4:2 as the Blue & White dominated a shell shocked Austria thanks to a masterful hat trick by Eran Zahavi. The super striker scored a pair of first half goals to help Andi Herzog’s squad comeback from a 1:0 deficit and added a third marker in the second half. Monas Dabbur found the back of the goal for Israel’s fourth strike while Marko Arnautovic was only able to record a brace for Austria in what was arguably Israel’s best international performance since the 3:0 win over Bosnia since November 2014.
Israel started off the contest aggressively, passing with authority along the wings as the partisan crowd of 16,180 cheered them on. But in the 8th minute an unmarked Marko Arnautović easily scored from inside the Blue & White box good for a 1:0 Austria lead. The West Ham striker took full advantage of a Peter Zulj pass to put Franco Foda’s side in the drivers seat early on and taking the wind out of the fan’s sails.
Austria kept controlling the pace of play but chances by Arnautovic and Lazaro were taken care of by an active Israel keeper Ariel Harush. But after an injury break, Andi Herzog’s squad began to show a bit of confidence and their efforts paid off in the 34th minute.
Eli Dasa sent a tremendous cross to his former Maccabi Tel Aviv teammate Eran Zahavi who headed home a magnificent equalizer to pull Israel even at 1:0. Following the goal, Austria began to take chance after chance but Harush was up to the task time and time again stoning Arnautovic and Aleksandar Dragovic while Julian Baumgartlinger hit the post.
Once Israel withstood the storm Zahavi once again came to the forefront with yet another header off a Bibras Natcho free kick to give Herzog’s side a shock 2:1 lead right before the halftime break.
Zahavi came out flying in the second half looking for a hat trick and he found it quickly just ten minutes in when he sent a scorcher into the goal from inside the box for 3:1 advantage. Israel would add a fourth goal in the 66th minute by Monas Dabbur as Zahavi this time played facilitator for the Red Bull Salzburg striker.
Arnautovic pulled a goal back for his second of the match in the 74th minute but it wouldn’t be enough on a day that was reserved for Eran Zahavi’s heroics as Israel take the win, the 3-points, 4 in total over the opening two matches of the Euro2020 Campaign.