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Blue-and-white notches dominant triumph

CM 02/09/2021

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Israel blanked the Faroe Islands 4-0 late Wednesday night as superstar Eran Zahavi scored a hat-trick for a tidy World Cup qualifying victory as the blue-and-white now turns its attention to its next opponent, Austria, in the second of a trio of September games on Saturday night.
On Wednesday, the hosts side controlled the pace of play over the first 10 minutes, but Zahavi scored a first-half brace which also put him at the top of the all-time leading Israeli goal-scoring chart, passing by Alon Mizrachi with his 335th and 336th markers. An embattled Monas Dabbur scored in the second half while Zahavi bookended the game with an injury-time strike to sew up the comfortable win.
In other Group F play, Denmark defeated Scotland 2-0 and Austria downed Moldova 2-0 as Israel remained in second place and will now prepare for Austria’s visit on Saturday night at Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa, which will be followed by a trip to Denmark for a duel on Tuesday.

“It’s really exciting and a great feat for me,” exclaimed Zahavi following the game. “I want to thank all those who helped me along the way and took part in my goals. I’m thrilled that the goals came in an important win over Faroe Islands. We won’t stop here and we will continue on. We need to have all of our fans cheering us on at Sammy Ofer on Saturday night and with them we will be able to do something very special together.”
Head coach Willi Ruttensteiner spoke about what Zahavi means to the team.
“He is an enormous leader in my opinion and very important for the team. Everybody sees the quality he has in scoring goals. I struggled with him at halftime as he said ‘don’t change me, I want to score, score, score.’ I told him that he has already scored so many goals, but you can’t imagine how professional he is, and he gives everything for Israel.”
The bench boss also talked about the victory while looking ahead to the next pair of games.
”I want to give my congratulations to my team as it is very difficult to play here and I tried to respect the Faroe Islands with a professional performance, with the benefits being solid work. I am satisfied with the team and now we have to prepare for difficult games against Austria and Denmark. Both are top teams and we saw that at the Euro. It provides great motivation and challenge if we can succeed at this level.”
Hoping to keep its World Cup hopes intact, the Israel National Teams’s game against Faroe Islands marked the fourth of 10 clashes of the Qatar 2022 campaign as Ruttensteiner’s side entered the contest with one win, a draw and a defeat.
Ruttensteiner chose a veteran laden starting lineup that included a number of players who have not seen much time for their club teams, but have been anchors for the blue-and-white under the Austrian coach.
Ofir Marciano, who moved to Dutch side Feyenoord during the summer but has not played many minutes, started in goal while Eli Dasa, Eitan Tibi, Oral Degani, Nir Bitton and Sun Menachem were the defenders.
Dor Peretz, captain Bibras Natcho and Manor Solomon manned the midfield and supplying the offense up front were Zahavi and Dabbur.
The Faroe Islands looked to be the stronger squad out of the gate with a pair of excellent chances, but Zahavi latched onto a Natcho through-ball in the 12th minute and curled it behind a helpless Gunnar Nielsen in the host’s goal for a 1-0 Israel lead.
Zahavi almost doubled Israel’s output in the 21st minute, but he couldn’t get his foot on a brilliant Dasa pass into the center of the Faroe Islands box.
Degani and Dabbur teamed up for a solid opportunity 10 minutes later, but the Hoffenheim striker just missed the target as Israel threatened to double the lead.
Once again, just before the halftime break, Zahavi found the back of the goal after taking a Dabbur tap-pass to score from 15 meters out and give the blue-and-white a 2-0 lead after 45 minutes of end-to-end action.
An active Dabbur and Solomon got right to work in the second half as the pair teamed up, with the former scoring from in close after a gorgeous dribble into the box by the latter to give Israel a 3-0 lead in the 52nd minute.
Solomon tried to add a marker of his own a quarter-hour later, but Nielsen made a tremendous right-footed save to keep the ball out of the net.
Israel continued to press for another strike and finally found it in injury time as Zahavi slotted the ball just by the right post as the blue-and-white settled for a handy win and will now prepare for a daunting battle with Austria.

Rukavytsya lands at Beersheba

In other Israeli soccer news, Hapoel Beersheba made a big splash by signing striker Nikita Rukavytsya to a two-year contract.
The Ukraine-born marksman, who represents the Australia National Team, led the Israeli league in goals this past season with 19 strikes for Maccabi Haifa, where he had played since 2016.
After five seasons up at the Carmel, Rukavytsya – who is married to an Israeli – moved down south and will now play for his third club in the Holy Land. The 34-year-old had started his Israeli career back in 2015 when he signed with Beitar Jerusalem, where he scored 14 goals in 30 games. Prior to that, Rukavytsya had played in Australia, Holland and Germany.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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