U21 Israel soccer player sad 370.
(photo credit: Uzi Gal)
Israel’s Under-21 national team had luck and the referee on its side on
Wednesday night, but could still only manage a 2-2 draw in the European
Championship opener against 10-man Norway after conceding a stoppagetime
equalizer in Netanya.
Guy Luzon’s young men froze on the big stage, but
despite being outplayed by Norway still found themselves in a winning position
after taking a 2-1 lead thanks to Alon Turgeman’s goal in the 71st
However, Harmeet Singh ensured the blue-and-white didn’t claim a
victory it didn’t deserve with an accurate leftfooted shot from the edge of the
area in the 91st minute.
Israel first took the lead in the 16th minute
through Nir Biton’s penalty after Polish referee Pawel Gil inexplicably awarded
the hosts a spot kick for what he determined was a foul by Omar Elabdellaoui on
Omri Ben- Harush.
It took the Scandinavians eight minutes to level the
score, with Marcus Pedersen shaking defender Edi Gotlib and firing past ‘keeper
Norway came tantalizingly close to completing its comeback
shortly after, twice being denied only by the woodwork within just three
minutes. However, Israel was in the driving seat at the break after another
questionable call by referee Gil.
The Pole sent off Vegar Hedenstad one
minute from halftime after concluding that the Norwegian defender was the last
man on defense when he pulled at Mohammad Kalibat’s shirt 30 meters from
The visitors still reached the better chances at the start of the
second half, with Anders Konradssen’s deflected shot hitting the post after two
minutes and Pedersen firing straight at Kleyman with only the goalkeeper to beat
12 minutes later.
Nevertheless, it was Israel which went in front yet
again after Turgeman made the most of a defensive lapse, only for Singh to deny
the locals the victory in a manner which has become so typically Israeli in
“If I’m to be honest I’m really not pleased with the way we
played and that would have still been true had we won,” said coach Luzon. “I’m
still pleased with the draw, but disappointed with the performance. This was our
worst game in two years. We can’t play any worse than this. I’m certain we will
play better against Italy.”
Israel faces Italy at Bloomfield Stadium in
its second match in Group A on Saturday.
Italy defeated England 1-0 at
Bloomfield stadium on Wednesday. Lorenzo Insigne scored Italy’s winner in the
79th minute with an accurate free kick.
England will look to rebound
against Norway on Saturday.
“Italy is an amazing team and if there’s one
encouraging aspect we can take from tonight it is the fact that we took an
historic point despite our display,” Luzon said.
In its only previous
appearance in the European Under-21 Championship six years ago, Israel lost all
three of its group games and failed to score a goal.
At least the
blue-and-white ensured there would be no repeat of that embarrassment this time
around and captain Nir Biton is certain that the team will register a
significant improvement on Saturday.
”This was one of our worst games and
we recorded a draw which feels like a loss,” said the Ashdod SC
“It is a shame we didn’t manage to score again during our
better minutes but we aren’t going to cry over spilled milk. We are slightly
down now, but we will quickly look forward to the match against Italy and will
be determined to give a better impression of ourselves on