Gutman recalls Benayoun ahead of Belarus match

Israel coach Eli Gutman recalls Yossi Benayoun to the national team squad ahead of friendly match against Belarus.

YOSSI BENAYOUN 370 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Israel coach Eli Gutman lived up to his word and recalled Yossi Benayoun to the national team squad on Thursday ahead of next week’s friendly match against Belarus.
After almost 14 consecutive years with the blue-and-white, the 32- year-old Benayoun was dropped from the squad for last month’s 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Luxembourg as Gutman decided to only call up players who appear regularly for their club sides.
Israel had little trouble managing without its long-time captain against Luxembourg, winning 6-0 on the road and 3-0 at home to move up to second place in Group F with seven points from four matches.
Nevertheless, Gutman kept his promise and brought Benayoun back into the fold after the midfielder started in each of West Ham’s last three matches, playing 90 minutes in two of them, including an impressive performance against Manchester City last Saturday.
Assuming Benayoun plays against Belarus at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem next Wednesday he will close to within three appearances of equaling Arik Benado’s record of 94.
Besides Benayoun’s return, Gutman made only two more changes to the squad summoned for the matches against Luxembourg.
The injured Maor Melikson and Gili Vermut were left out, with Celtic’s Biram Kiyal and Hapoel Tel Aviv’s Omer Damari returning in their place.
Premier League leader Maccabi Tel Aviv was once more the club with the most players in the squad.
Gutman called up five players from the yellow-and-blue: Eitan Tibi, Yoav Ziv, Maharan Radi, Gal Alberman and striker Eliran Atar, who has scored nine goals in the first eight league games of the season, more than five of the league’s 14 teams have managed in total.