Israel draws with Hungary in final tune-up

Israel failed to muster a response until Hemed came on for Itay Shechter.

Lior Rafaelov 370 (photo credit: Reuters)
Lior Rafaelov 370
(photo credit: Reuters)
Israel will enter its first 2014 World Cup qualifier next month in worrying form after drawing 1-1 with Hungary in Budapest in its final tune-up match on Wednesday night.
The national team lost its three previous friendly matches under the guidance of coach Eli Gutman, falling 3-2 to Ukraine in February and dropping to a 2-1 setback to the Czech Republic in May before being beaten 2-0 by Germany six days later.
The blue-and-white finally snapped the losing streak in Budapest, but its goal was completely coincidental and its performance was desperately poor once more.
The Hungarians were far from convincing, but Balazs Dzsudzsak gave the hosts a deserved lead in the 51st minute before substitute Tomer Hemed spared Israel’s blushes with the equalizer 10 minutes from time.
Despite its struggles, the recent friendlies will mean little if Israel goes on to beat Azerbaijan on September 7 to embark on a successful qualifying campaign. However, the early signs from Gutman’s tenure have not been encouraging to say the least.
The blue-and-white lacked any sort of urgency on the offensive end in Budapest and displayed its traditional vulnerability on defense to concede a needless goal.
An eventless first half ended in a fitting goalless deadlock, but Israel paid the price for its poor play six minutes after the break.
Kristian Nemeth’s initial shot hit the post but Elad Gabay completely fluffed his clearance, allowing Dzsudzsak to slot in the opener beyond a helpless Dudu Aouate.
Israel failed to muster a response until Hemed came on for Itay Shechter, whose loan move to Swansea City of the English Premier League was finalized earlier in the day.
Hemed squandered a chance in the 69th minute moments after entering from the substitutes’ bench, but netted the equalizer 11 minutes later after Dan Mori’s header was only weakly blocked by ‘keeper Adam Bogdan.