Scotland stuns Israel with last gasp winner in World Cup Qualifying

Oct 9, 2021 | Football

The Israel National Team fell to Scotland 3-2 in dramatic fashion on a late goal by Scott McTominay at Hampden Park in World Cup qualifying. The defeat puts the blue-and-white in a very precarious situation to advance to the playoffs as the Tartan Army remains in second place now four points ahead of Israel with only three games remaining in group play.

Israel had led 2-1 on goals by Eran Zahavi and Monas Dabbur after a stellar first half, but Lyndon Dykes drew Scotland even in the second half before McTominay broke the Sabra’s hearts with his added time goal to grab the points. The blue-and-white will now ready for Moldova back at hone in Beer Sheva on Tuesday night as they look to keep their slim hopes alive to find a way into the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

“We played very well in the first half,” Israel Head Coach Willi Ruttensteiner said following the disappointing result. “In the second half the Scotland pressure decided the game. We couldn’t stand up to Scotland’s aggressiveness. If the game would have ended in the 92nd minute we would have taken a point but the game continued and we lost. It’s a horrible feeling. The players gave everything they had until the final whistle.”

“I don’t have anything to say,” a distraught Eran Zahavi began. “We don’t know how to defend and when we go backwards we give up a goal. We had to go forward. At surprised me is that is what the coach wanted us to do, play attacking football and hold onto the ball. We didn’t do what we were supposed to do.”

The Israel National Team entered the Scotland matchup after having won two of their last three World Cup qualifiers and in third place in Group F just behind the Tartan Army and Denmark who were in first place.

Willi Ruttensteiner’s starting lineup included keeper Ofir Marciano, defenders Eli Dasa, Sun Menachem, Nir Bitton, Ofri Arad and Eyad Abu Abid. Manning the midfield were blue-and-white starlet Manor Solomon, Dor Peretz and captain Bibras Natcho while Monas Dabbur and super striker Eran Zahavi played up front.

For Steve Clarke’s squad, Liverpool defender Andy Robertson served as the captain, while Kieran Tierney from Arsenal and Scott McTominay also played in the back as other English Premier League stars Che Adams, John McGinn and Lyndon Dykes littered the lineup.

Israel got off to a dream start at Hampden Park as Eran Zahavi curved an absolutely beautiful free kick over the Scotland wall to beat keeper Craig Gordon for his 32nd national team goal drawing him even with Mordechai Spengler who had been in first place for the blue-and-white. Following the goal, Zahavi silenced the crowd after they had booed the Israel National Anthem Hatikva prior to the start of the game.

Scotland tried to find a quick equalizer as an active Lyndon Dykes made his way into the Israel box, but keeper Ofir Marciano sent the out for a corner kick in the 15th minute. However, a quarter hour later John McGinn skipped by the Israel defense and into the area where he put the ball into the far corner and behind Marciano to draw even at 1-1.

But Ruttensteiner’s squad didn’t hang their heads for long as captain Bibras Natcho swung a free kick into the box that went off of a couple of Israeli players and right to striker Monas Dabbur to put the ball home to retake the lead 2-1 in the 31st minute.

Scotland went to work again and threatened the Israeli defenders as Bibras Natcho committed a foul just inside of the box handing the hosts a penalty right before the halftime whistle. Dykes stepped up for the spot kick but poorly sent it towards Marciano who made the save to keep the score as is heading into the break.

The hosts searched for a tying strike from the get go of half number two and found it in the 57th minute when Dykes put the ball into the Israel goal which was confirmed by the Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR).

Israel once again went to work as Manor Solomon fed Zahavi a terrific ball in the box but the latter’s header was caging cleanly by the Scottish keeper while Marciano did the same at the other end off of Dykes. Ruttensteiner then made a number of substitutes bringing in Dan Glazer, Gadi Kinda and Shon Weissman for Natcho, Ofri Arad and Dabbur.

However, the changes didn’t help the squad in injury time as McGinn’s corner kick went to Jack Hendry in the box whose attempt made its way to Scott McTominay by the right corner of the goal who used his body to push the ball into the Israel goal as Scotland snatched the 3-2 win just before the final whistle was blown.

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