Soccer: Golan gives Israel 1-0 win over Romania

Israel beats mighty Romania; Ovidiu Petre sent of at 22nd minute, leaving Romania with a 10-men team.

Israel 224.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Israel 224.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
A 25th minute goal by Omer Golan gave Israel a confidence-boosting 1-0 victory over 10-man Romania in an international friendly at National Stadium in Ramat Gan on Wednesday night. Despite the win, Israel, which hosts Switzerland in its first 2010 World Cup qualifier in seven months time, was far from impressive. The Romanians played with 10-men from the 22nd minute after Ovidiu Petre was given a red card, but apart from scoring three minutes later the national team was poor offensively and was fortunate not to concede an equalizer. Israel coach Dror Kashtan was satisfied with the performance. "We haven't met up for three months and only had two days of preparation but it was important to win," Kashtan told Sport5 after the game. "Each game is important to win and we beat a team which has reached the Euros, a strong team, at the top of the European level." The Israel fans once more showed their discontent with the way the team is playing and only 6,342 supporters attended the match. This was the third time in four matches the national team failed to pull more than 7,000 fans at a home match and clearly Kashtan's men have plenty of work to do to regain the trust of their supporters. "It was a pity the crowd didn't come," Kashtan said. "Maybe it was because of the weather. I hope the crowd will come and support us in the future whether it is a friendly game or an important qualifier." Neither team managed to make its mark on the encounter early on, but the game burst into life in the 22nd minute when Romania's Petre was given his marching orders for lashing out at Tamir Cohen. Israel took immediate advantage of the sending-off and scored the opener in the 25th minute. Moshe Ohayon's corner was headed on by Cohen and eventually tucked in by Golan. Despite being one man down the visitors would reach the better scoring opportunities as the half progressed and were unlucky not to equalize by the break. In the 30th minute Razvan Cocis hit the crossbar with his header and five minutes later Adrian Mutu's shot from 25 meters was well caught by Dudu Awat. Five minutes before the interval Romania almost tied the score after Israel defender Avi Strul's back-header only just missed the target and in first half stoppage time Awat, dressed in a florescent green kit, was on hand once more to deny a Mutu attempt. Seven minutes into the second half Romania had its best chance of the match. Substitute Nicolae Dica was left all alone five meters from Israel's goal, but he could only register a disappointing header which went wide of the target. The hosts should have killed off the match six minutes later after a good team move ended with the ball at the feet of Elyaniv Barda with only the keeper to beat. Captain Yossi Benayoun setup Barda, but the Genk striker failed to slot the ball beyond Romanian keeper Bogdan Lobont. The miss, however, would be of no real importance as Israel held on to its slender lead to record a moral boosting win. Earlier Wednesday, Israel's under-21 team defeated Northern Ireland 2-1 to remain in contention for a place in the European Championships. Ben Sahar gave Israel the lead in the 67th minute and Idan Srur scored the winner in the 87th minute after the Northern Irish equalized five minutes earlier.