Israel downed Andorra 2-1 in Jerusalem to collect the win and the three points to move back into Euro 2024 contention with two victories in as many games after having taken only a lone point in their opening pair of games in the campaign. The blue-and-white grabbed a 1-0 lead ahead of the break via Raz Shlomo, but Albert Rosas drew the visitors even early on in the second half. But it was head coach Alon Hazan’s star Manor Solomon who found the winner with a fantastic strike to give Israel the hard earned win.
In the other two group games, Romania scored two late goals to snatch a 2-2 draw at Switzerland while Belarus defeated Kosovo 2-1 on a pair of gaol just two minutes apart late in the game to take the win. Israel is in third place with 7 points while the Swiss are at the top with 10 points and Romania sits in second with 8. The blue-and-white will play at Romania and host Belarus in yes next window of games which takes place in September.
“Things sometimes have to be difficult in order to understand how to get things done,” Alon Hazan said. “After Andorra scored to even up the game at 1-1 the players could have dropped their heads but Manor Solomon did what he knows how to do best and scored the winner. Our goal is to play better but it’s not easy to defeat a team that played a very defensive style. We achieved what we wanted to do over this window of matches and we knew that we had to come out of these games with all 6 points.”
Manor Solomon also spoke about the victory, “We were winning 1-0 which was encouraging but we missed some chances to seal the win already in the first half, but we did what we needed to. We still need to improve and it was tough to play when they had ten men behind the ball. We see how every team have had tough times in this group and what’s most important is taking the points which is what we did in these two games. I felt an obligation towards the national team after missing my chances in the previous game.”
Captain Eli Dasa reflected on the win, “I felt very good and i knew that we had to show our strength and pride in this game in order to take the points and despite not playing our best soccer we took the win. Six points out of six points is what we needed to do and that is what we did.”
The Israel National Team welcomed Andorra to Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem for a Euro 2024 qualification match after having taken 3-points against Belarus in a game that was played in Budapest due to the Ukraine and Russia conflict. Head coach Alon Hazan needed to collect another trio of points in their fourth Group I game overall after having picked up only one point in their two opening games back in march.
Roy Revivo was at left defensive back in Hazan’s starting XI after having starred for the U20 team at the World Cup in Argentina along with captain Eli Dasa on the right while Raz Shlomo and Sean Goldberg were the central defenders. Ramzi Safouri, Neta Lavi and Gaby Kanichowsky manned the midfield as Manor Solomon, Dolev Haziza and Shon Weissman played up front while Omri Glazer started in goal.
Ahead of the game there had been concern that Beitar Jerusalem fans would disrupt the game by protesting the Israel Football Associations courts due to penalties levied on the club following the pitch invasion and other incidents from their State Cup victory over Maccabi Netanya at Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa. However, there was just some jeering and a sign that stated there are one set of judgements for Beitar and one for the rest of the teams.
With chances at a premium early on, Raz Shlomo finally broke the deadlock with a fabulous 25 meter strike to give Israel a 1-0 lead in the 43rd minute while Manor Solomon’s brilliant chance just ahead of the halftime break to double the advantage was saved by the Andorra keeper.
The visitors looked for an equalizer and quickly found it when Raz Shlomo’s poor defensive effort allowed Albert Rosas to get by him in the box and slipped the ball by Omri Glazer to draw even at 1-1 in the middle 52nd minute.
However, less than ten minutes later, Israel came right back as Manor Solomon danced into the box off the left flank and slammed home a laser beam of shot into the back of the goal as Alon Hazan’s squad retook the lead 2-1. Israel tried to add insurance marker to secure the victory but Andorra held the hosts at bay as the blue-and-white notched the victory and the three points.
In other National Team news, the Under-21 team will begin the European Championships on Thursday when they play Germany in the first of three Group C games. The young blue-and-white will then kickoff against continental power England on Sunday which will be followed up by the third match versus Czechia on the following Wednesday with all three games taking place in Kutaisi, Georgia.
Head coach Guy Luzon’s Israel is one of 16 teams in the competition as the most familiar name on the squad will be starlet Oscar Gloukh who featured for the senior team at their Euro 2024 qualifier against Belarus in Hungary and scored the winning goal. In addition to Red Bull Salzburg’s Gloukh, there are a number of other Israeli league regulars who will be playing including Omri Gendelman from Maccabi Netanya, Maccabi Tel Aviv keeper Daniel Peretz along with U21 captain Gil Cohen who plies his trade with Ashdod.
A number of players who were on the Under-20 team that finished in third place at the most recent World Cup will also be playing for the Under-21 side including Roy Revivo who was in the starting lineup for the senior team against Andorra, Dor Turgeman and Stav Lemkin.