Israel beats Latvia 2-1 in Euro 2012 qualifier
Yossi Benayoun scored an early goal as Israel beat Latvia 2-1 in
a Euro 2012 qualifier on Saturday to move level on points with
Group F leader Croatia.
The visitors took the lead through captain Benayoun’s strike in
the 19th minute before Israel doubled its tally with a penalty kick
from Tal Ben Haim in the 43rd.
Latvia pulled a goal back when midfielder Aleksandrs Cauna
converted the second penalty kick of the game in the 62nd.
Israel held off several Latvian attempts to equalize in injury
time to record its second 2-1 win over the Baltic country in Group
The win moved Israel into provisional second place in Group F
qualifying with a total of 13 points from seven games. Croatia
leads the group on goal difference. Latvia trails in fifth place
with just four points from its opening six games.
Latvia’s Cauna had the game’s first shot on goal in the fourth
minute, but it was Israel midfielder Bar Buzaglo who came closest
to opening the scoring when his long-range shot struck the post in
But Israel didn’t have to wait long for Chelsea midfielder
Benayoun to break the deadlock with a 14-metre (14-yard) strike
placed in the bottom corner beyond the reach of Latvia goalkeeper
Latvia struggled to create chances in the first half and Israel
increased its lead when Ben Haim converted a penalty after Latvia
midfielder Artis Lazdins fouled Yuval Shpungin.
The home team, missing the experienced Maris Verpakovskis and
Andrejs Rubins, entered the second half with more confidence and
was able to capitalize with a penalty kick in the 62nd minute
following a handball by Almog Cohen.
Latvia: Andris Vanins, Oskars Klava, Ritus Krjauklis, Deniss
Ivanovs, Artis Lazdins, Aleksandrs Cauna, Maksims Rafalskis (Jurijs
Zigajevs, 28), Aleksejs Visnakovs (Ritvars Rugins, 71), Artjoms
Rudnevs, Kaspars Gorkss, Andrejs Pereplotkins (Edgars Gauracs,
Israel: Dudu Aouate, Yuval Shpungin, Tal Ben Haim I, Rami
Gershon, Almog Cohen, Lior Refaelov (Tal Ben Haim II, 79), Tomer
Hemed, Maor Bar Buzaglo (Bebras Natcho, 69), Dekel Keinan, Yossi
Benayoun, Eran Zahavi (Eyal Golasa, 89)