Israel and Scotland played to a 1-1 draw in 2022 World Cup qualifying at Bloomfield Stadium as each squad took a point. The blue-and-white dominated the first half and finally broke through with a goal just ahead of halftime as Dor Peretz sent a scorcher from 25 meters out to break the deadlock. But Tartan Army came back strong in the second half and quickly evened up the score thanks to Ryan Fraser as the national teams split the points.
Following Scotland’s visit, Willi Ruttensteiner’s team will head to Chișinău to face Moldova on Wednesday night who drew 1-1 with Faroe Islands in their first game but were walloped 8-0 by Denmark in their second match in qualifying.
The last time the two sides played was in 2017 as the clubs played to a 1-1 draw in an International Friendly. Prior to that contest, the squads competed in 2010 World Cup qualifiers when Israel won both matches as they hold an all-time record of 3 wins, 3 draws and 0 losses in six games.
The next window of qualifiers will take place in September 2021 when Israel will play Austria and Faroe Islands for the first time in this campaign.
“We had an excellent first half,” explained Israel’s head coach Willi Ruttensteiner. “The opening 45 minutes saw us create many chances and it would have been fantastic had we finished them. I said at halftime that we won’t be able to play this way for the full 90 minutes and at they end the game was a draw. We can’t expect to dominate them for the entire game as they have English Premier League players.”
“I’m a little bit disappointed,” Steve Clarke, Scotland’s manager began following the game. “We didn’t start the game well, but then we had better control approaching half-time. We made some changes, but it was disappointing to lose a goal before half-time, but as always this group showed good character. With a little bit of luck we could have come away with everything, but it’s another point on the road.”
Israel’s marksman Dor Peretz reflected on the match, “I along with the rest of the squad believe that with the soccer we played especially in the first half we expected to take more than a draw out of this game, but we are happy with how we performed.”
Scotland goal scorer Ryan Fraser also looked back on the draw, “It was a lot better in the second half. We obviously took a little while to get going in the first half and when we got to grips in the second, I thought we dominated the game and we should have won in the end.”
The hosts entered the contest after falling to Denmark 2-0 while the visitors held Austria to 2-2 draw in their respective opening World Cup qualifiers last week.
Willi Ruttensteiner’s Starting XI saw a pair of changes from Thursday’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of Denmark. Central defender Ofri Arad and striker Shon Weissman were inserted into the lineup while Joel Abu Hana and Munas Dabbur began the game on the bench. Ofir Marciano was in goal once again with Arad, Eli Dasa, Eitan Tibi, Hatem El Hamed and Sun Menachem in front of him. Captain Bibras Natcho was in the midfield along with Dor Peretz while starlet Manor Solomon was right behind strikers Weissman and Eran Zahavi.
Scotland head coach Steve Clarke had David Marshall in goal with Stephen O’Donnell, Andy Robertson, Jack Hendry and Grant Hanley on defense. Scott McTominay, Callum McGregor and Kieran Tierney manned the midfield while John McGinn, Ryan Fraser and Che Adams played up front for the Tartan Army.
Solomon and Zahavi teamed up from the get go to create Israel’s first chance in the 2nd minute but the latter’s attempt whistled wide of the goal, while the former sliced a ball just over the bar six minutes later. Scotland captain Andy Robertson delivered a perfect ball into the box but McTominay’s header just went by the post and out in the 9th minute and Menachem’s weak shot was easily grabbed by Marshall at the other end.
Fraser and Robertson teamed up to get inside of the Israel box but their passing play was intercepted in time by Tibi and sent out for a corner that came up empty for the Scots, as Zahavi’s scorcher after an Israel buildup met McGinn just in time to clear the danger. Natcho freed up Solomon in the box but his smart shot that could’ve given Israel the lead caromed off of Marshall in the 25th minute and Arad’s liner just cleared the bar as the match remained goalless.
The blue-and-white continued to press as Natcho sent a cross into the area that Weissman nodded towards the goal but Marshall was in place to make the timely save. However, soon thereafter Peretz launched a magnificent strike from 25 meters into the top right hand corner of the goal that the Scottish keeper had absolutely no chance to stop as the Maccabi Tel Aviv midfielder gave Israel a 1-0 lead just at the stroke of halftime.
Scotland made a halftime substitute as Ryan Christie came on for Grant Hanley and the visitors immediately took control of the contest with a change of formation which helped lead to a quick equalizer in the 56th minute as Fraser sent an Adams ball easily behind Marciano to draw even at 1-1. Adams had a chance to give Clarke’s side the lead five minutes later but the Israeli shot stopper made back to back saves to keep the score as is.
Ruttensteiner made his first substitute of the game as he inserted Neta Lavi in place of Natcho in the 63rd minute to freshen up the midfield. Four minutes later, Dasa sent Menachem a cross from the right wing into the box but the left back just nodded the ball wide of the goal for Israel’s first chance of the second half.
Zahavi’s powerful drive went over the Scotland goal while a minute later his next attempt went wide right. The blue-and-white made a pair of personnel changes as Munas Dabbur and Beram Kayal entered the fray in favor of Weissman and Menachem.
Israel pressed hard for a winner over the final ten minutes as Zahavi and Solomon each had opportunities inside the box but Scotland was able to stave off the attack to take a point.