Israel rides momentum of victory over Honduras

Confident after 2-0 win in friendly match at New York's Citi Field, national team prepares for Sept. 6 qualifier against Azerbaijan.

June 3, 2013 13:46
1 minute read.
Israel National team coach Eli Gutman

Israel coach Eli Gutman 370. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)

Israel coach Eli Gutman claimed the national team’s 2-0 victory over Honduras in an international friendly in New York on Sunday will prove to be important to the remainder of the blue-andwhite’s 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

A stunning Hen Ezra goal from 25 meters out in the 52nd minute put Israel in the driving seat before Shimon Abu Hazeira’s strike (76) secured the victory in front of 26,170 fans at Citi Field, which usually serves as the home of Major League Baseball’s New York Mets.

Israel is currently in second place in European qualifying Group F and doesn’t play its next qualifier until September 6 when it hosts Azerbaijan, three days before visiting Russia.

However, Gutman was confident that Sunday’s win will still help the national team in its preparations for the resumption of its qualifying campaign in three months time.

“This victory is important to the rest of our qualifying campaign,” said Gutman. “We are returning to Israel with our head held high. Hen Ezra’s goal is the reason people come to watch soccer. I’m also very happy for Abu Hazeria for scoring his first goal for Israel.”

Gutman also singled out goalkeeper Ariel Harush for praise. Harush started for the team in the absence of Dudu Aouate.

“When the team plays well defensively that helps the ‘keeper,” noted the coach.

“Harush was composed throughout the match and he saved us on one occasion. He has massive potential.”

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