The Israeli National Football Team recorded its first victory in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers on Wednesday night when it defeated Moldova 4:1 in Chișinău. But the truth is, the result is a bit misleading because this is not the ability we expect to see from the team, which scored a fourth point in the campaign after the loss to Denmark and the draw against Scotland.
Despite the weakness of the Moldavians, who are 177th in the FIFA rankings and lost 8:0 to Denmark's second team last Sunday, Willi Ruttensteiner did not give up his favorite three-brake line-up. The Austrian coach also chose to give up rotation, as no less than eight players started in the squad today for the third time in less than a week. The team had a very hard time in the first half, fell behind, and a red card that Moldova received in the 50th minute helped the blue-and-whites to register a turnaround on the way to victory.
At first, it looked very bad. The first half was embarrassing for the Israeli team – it cannot be defined otherwise. Ruttensteiner's trainees were not good, failed to create situations in front of their weak opponent, for whom a goal was disqualified in the 25th minute. But that did not bother the Moldavians, who four minutes later scored for a surprising and terrible 0:1 for Israel. It happened after a mistake by Eitan Tibi, which ended in a goal by Cătălin Carp from an extension.
Just before the break, in the 45+1 minute, Dor Peretz with a great pass left Eran Zahavi in a one-on-one situation in front of the goalkeeper. The striker found the net, equalized to 1:1 and rose to second place in the table of all-time conquerors on the Israeli team with his 25th goal in the national uniform, leaving behind Yossi Benyon and Shia Feigenbaum.
At the start of the second half, in the 50th minute, Moldova was left with 10 players when Ion Nicolaescu was sent off with a direct red card after pushing Loai Taha. From then on, it was much less difficult for the Israeli team, and Manor Solomon completed a makeover in the 57th minute and set up a makeover. Shakhtar Donetsk's midfielder continued from an extension after a rebound from Zehavi's position to the net and scored his second goal in the national uniform.
The blue-and-whites continued their run, and in the 65th minute, Mu'nas Dabbur scored the third after a mistake by the Moldavian goalkeeper; just a minute later Bibars Natcho set up a 1-4 draw. By the way, right after the goal, the captain ran to celebrate with Ruttensteiner and called on the other players to join him. Towards the end, when the victory was already guaranteed, the Austrian coach finally gave some rest to the players who suffered from overload and replaced them, including Zahavi, Tibi, Eli Desa and San Menachem.