National team beats Andorra 2-0 in crucial Euro qualifier.
By ALLON SINAI
Israel on Wednesday ensured that it will still have a chance of reaching Euro 2008 when it faces England at Wembley Stadium in September.
The national team recorded its fifth win of the qualifying campaign, defeating Andorra 2-0 at Estadi Comunal.
Israel has now won its last three qualifiers, a feat that hasn't been achieved by the blue-and-white in more than 10 years. The outstanding run means the national team's dream of an unlikely European Championship qualification is still very much alive. The side will be in confident mood ahead of its match in the new Wembley on September 8.
"We knew this would be a difficult match and we're happy we won," defender Dedi Ben-Dayan said. "Now we can start to prepare for Wembley." The match was Ben-Dayan's first international appearance in three years.
Continuous rain in recent days made the pitch at Estadi Comunal almost unplayable, a fact that could have cost Israel dearly. The team struggled to create scoring opportunities and was fortunate to get the better of the battling Andorrans.
Toto Tamuz gave Israel the lead in the 38th minute, with Roberto Colautti scoring his sixth goal of the campaign eight minutes after the interval.
"The most important thing is that we won the match and that we're still alive," Israel captain Yossi Benayoun said. "We showed a lot of character and determination tonight, and that won us the match."
Tamuz should have given Israel the lead within the first two minutes, but the striker could only hit the post with his shot after Andorran 'keeper Koldo lvarez spilled the ball.
Israel failed to convert its technical superiority into scoring opportunities and Marc Bernaus recorded Andorra's first shot toward goal in the 15th minute.
Six minutes later, Tamuz was once again at the center of Israel's attack, hitting a left-footed volley high above the goal from the center of the box.
Seven minutes before halftime, Tamuz gave Israel the lead. Colautti beat the 'keeper to the ball and crossed to Tamuz, who headed it in.
Barak Itzhaki almost gave Israel a two-goal cushion at the start of the second half, shooting just wide of goal after an excellent move down the right flank.
Israel secured the win in the 53rd minute. Itzhaki crossed the ball from the right and Colautti scored the team's fourth headed goal in four days.
Eight minutes later, Benayoun almost scored on a half-volley from five meters out.
Arik Benado fouled Ildefons Lima in the box in the 80th minute, but substitute Juli S nchez hit a terrible penalty that went wide of Dudu Awat's goal.
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