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Key Events

83'
G. Pellè
Assist
83'
C. Immobile
Goal
70'
C. Immobile
E. Martins
67'
A. Florenzi
A. Candreva
64'
R. Kehat
T. Ben Chaim
63'
A. Ogbonna
G. Bonaventura
58'
O. Atzili
N. Bitton
50'
R. Gershon
E. Tibi
35'
T. Hemed
Assist
35'
T. Ben Chaim
Goal
31'
A. Candreva
Penalty Goal
28'
G. Chiellini
Yellow Card
14'
L. Antonelli
Assist
14'
G. Pellè
Goal
3
0
3
1

Stats

Possession
% %
6
4
Shots Off Target
Shots On Target 5 5
Total Passes 540 385

Commentary

In the end, Italy were made to work much harder than they would have liked, and what looked as if it was going to be a relatively routine win turned into a bit of a struggle after Chiellini was shown a second yellow card. Israel looked dangerous in front of goal and went close to scoring on several occasions, but the visitors were just about to hold on to pick up three important points ahead of next month's clash at home to Spain.
FULL-TIME: ISRAEL 1-3 ITALY
90' + 3' The home side push forwaard on what will surely be their final attack of the game. Kayal twists and turns on the right-hand side of the penalty area and then fires a dangerous low cross into the middle of the box, but Bonucci is there to thump the ball out of play for a late corner.
90' + 2' Israel come back once again before Bitton finds himself in a pocket of space deep down the right flank, but, not for the first time this evening, the full-back's attempted cross is completely overhit and sails comfortably out of play for a goal-kick.
90' The fourth official has indicated that there will be three minutes of added time.
89' A dangerous Atzili cross causes the Italy back line a few problems but is just about dealt with by the visitors. The ball bounces out to Kayal, however, and the midfielder is in a great position just outside of the penalty area, but he slips just as he's about to shoot and Verratti is able to dispossess him before he can unleash a shot.
87' What a chance for Immobile to make it 4-1! A thumping volleyed pass from Florenzi flies over the disjointed Israel back line and into the path of Immobile, who is in acres of space in the middle of the pitch. He's completely unmarked and only has Goresh to beat, but he ends up firing his close-range effort a few yards wide of the far post. He really should have done better with that golden opportunity!
85' Israel immediately push forward from the restart and win themselves a corner over on the right wing. It's curled into the heart of the penalty area, where it's cleared only as far as Bitton, but the right-back's audacious effort from 30 yards out is poorly hit and sails well wide of its intended target.
G. Pellè
Assist
Italy
83' Once again, Pelle did brilliantly to beat his marker in the air before setting up Immobile. Despite seeing relatively little of the ball, the striker has been excellent this evening and has grabbed all of his chances with both hands.
C. Immobile
Goal
Italy
83' GOAL! Totally against the run of play, Italy have re-established their two-goal lead! Pelle rises high and comfortably meets a goal-kick from Buffon before nodding the ball down into the feet of Immobile. The substitute out-muscles Tzedek far too easily before penetrating the penalty area, and the striker then rifles a wonderful low shot past the outstretched arm of Goresh and into the bottom right-hand corner of the net. All three points are surely Italy's now!
82' Kehat picks up the ball in a pocket of space just outside of the Italy penalty area after playing a nice one-two with Kayal, but the substitutes' thumping strike ends up flying a few yards over the top of the crossbar. The hosts are getting closer, but the visitors are doing well to hold on to their slender lead.
80' Kayal and Davidzada link up well on the edge of the Italy penalty area before the latter tries to skip into the box from the left wing. He's easily dealt with by Florenzi, however, before Parolo tries to break away quickly, but the midfielder is dragged back by Kayal and Italy are awarded a free-kick deep inside their own half of the pitch.
78' An Israel attack breaks down and allows Italy to push forward on a rare counter. Immobile breaks down the left flank on a quick run before trying to take on Bitton on the edge of the hosts' penalty area, but he's unable to beat the full-back and is easily dispossessed.
76' It's all Israel at the moment as they try to find an equaliser that could well see them pick up a well-deserved point. They're pushing as many bodies forward as possible but, so far, are struggling to find a way through Italy's well-organised and resolute back line, which is managing to hold firm.
74' Zahavi's thumping strike from the free-kick fails to beat the wall of white shirts camped on the edge of the box, but the hosts are easily able to win back possession and push forward once again. Italy fail to clear the danger and gift Hemed with an opportunity to unleash an overhead kick from 20 yards out, but the striker's acrobatic effort ends up sailing comfortably wide of the far post.
73' Hemed weaves his way towards the edge of the Italy penalty area before being dragged back by Immobile, and the referee awards Israel another free-kick in a very dangerous position just outside of the box. Can the home side make it count?
71' Israel get themselves into a good position once again, this time deep down the left flank through Davidzada, but the full-back ends up rushing his attempted cross into the penalty area and sends it flying several yards over the top of the crossbar.
C. Immobile
E. Martins
Italy
70' Italy have made their third and final change, with Immobile coming on to replace Eder up front.
70' The ball bounces around the Italy penalty area before bouncing into the feet of Tzedek, but the centre-back's two efforts from close-range fail to find a way through the sea of white shirts camped in front of him and the ball eventually bounces off the defender's leg and out for a goal-kick. Israel are all over Italy at the moment and are causing so many problems for the visitors!
69' Another great opportunity for Israel! Kehat picks up the ball in a pocket of space just outside of the penalty area and immediately unleashes a rocket of a shot that Buffon does well to push away from goal. The ball bounces out to Zahavi, however, but the captain's follow-up strike ends up being deflected just wide of the far post and out for another corner.
A. Florenzi
A. Candreva
Italy
67' Italy have made their second alternation of the evening, with Candreva making way for Florenzi.
67' The home side come back quickly and do well to earn themselves a corner over on the left wing. It's swung into the heart of the penalty area, where it finds Kehat, but the substitutes' header ends up looping comfortably over the top of the crossbar.
66' Israel go close again! Zahavi and Davidzada link up brilliantly on the edge of the Italy box before the latter sprints towards the byline. He then sends a dangerous low pass across the face of goal, and it flies just past the outstretched fingertips of Buffon before narrowly missing Hemed.
65' Israel move the ball around well on the edge of the Italy penalty area before Atzili whips a dangerous cross into the heart of the box. Ben Bitton is camped at the near post and is almost able to reach the ball, but Bonucci does well to cut out the danger at the vital moment.
R. Kehat
T. Ben Chaim
Israel
64' Meanwhile, Israel have replaced Ben Haim with Kehat in their final alteration.
A. Ogbonna
G. Bonaventura
Italy
63' Italy have made their first change of the game, with Ogbonna coming on to replace Bonaventura and take Chiellini's place in the heart of the defence.
61' An Italy attacking move breaks down, allowing Israel to quickly hit them on the counter. Atzili twists and turns through the middle of the pitch before penetrating the right-hand side of the visitors' box, but he's dispossessed by a great tackle from Verratti before he's able to unleash a shot.
59' Antonelli weaves his way into the left-hand side of the Israel penalty area before forcing Gershon into poking the ball out for a corner. It's swung towards the near post and almost finds a white shirt, but the hosts do well to deal with the danger before comfortably clearing the ball.
O. Atzili
N. Bitton
Israel
58' Israel have made their second substitution of the evening, and it's an attacking one, with Nir Bitton making way for Atzili.
56' After plenty of pushing and shoving, Zahavi eventually steps up and sends the resulting free-kick into the heart of the penalty area and towards Hemed, but Barzagli is there to beat the striker to the ball with a strong headed clearance.
55' RED CARD! Italy are down to 10 men! The defender tangles with Hemed off the ball as he cynically drags the striker to the ground, leaving the referee with no choice but to show him his second yellow card of the night. It's been a tough evening for the centre-back, who hasn't looked at all comfortable.
54' Israel scream for a handball inside the Italy box, but nothing is given! The home side move the ball around nicely ont he edge of the penalty area before Kayal chips a deft pass straight into Chiellini. It initially looks as if the ball strikes the defender's arm, resulting in the hosts appealing for the referee to point to the spot, but the man in charge shakes his head before the replays show that his decision was the correct one.
52' Opportunity for Nir Bitton! The Celtic midfielder charges through the centre of the pitch on an excellent run before unleashing a low strike from just outside of the Italy penalty area, but Buffon gets down well and pushes the effort away from goal with a smart save.
R. Gershon
E. Tibi
Israel
50' Tibi, who immediately went down after battling with Eder in the build-up to the striker's chance on goal, will play no further part in the game after picking up what looks like a groin strain, so he's replaced by Gershon for the remainder of the evening.
49' Italy quickly come back once again as they put Israel under pressure whilst they're down to 10 men due to an injury picked up by Tibi. Candreva picks up the ball in a pocket of space over on the right wing and quickly sends a dangerous cross towards Antonelli at the back post, but the wing-back is beaten to the ball just as he's about to make contact with it.
48' Chance for Eder! A lofted pass forward from Bonucci bounces through a gap in the middle of the Israel back line before finding Eder on the edge of the penalty area. He skips past Tibi far too easily before trying to send a volleyed shot over the head of Goresh, but the ball isn't hit cleanly enough and his effort ends up bouncing wide of the goal.
47' Israel immediately push forward on a good attacking move from the kick-off, with Zahavi playing an important role just outside of the Italy penalty area. He sprays the ball out to Ben Haim, who spins quickly before teeing up Ben Bitton, but the full-back is quickly closed down by Bonaventura and is unable to beat the midfielder.
46' And we're underway once again!
The two teams are making their way back out on to the pitch ahead of the start of the second half. Neither side have made any substitutions during the half-time break.
Italy really should be heading into the half-time break with a comfortable two-goal lead, but a poor mistake by Chiellini and an excellent chip from Ben Haim means that the visitors' advantage is only a slender one. Bar the goal, Israel have found little joy battling against Italy's back three, despite a good performance from Hemed in and around the penalty area. Meanwhile, at the other end, the home side have failed to deal with the height and power of Pelle, who has too often caused them problems when presented with opportunities to do so. They have struggled down the wings as well, with Ben Bitton looking particularly shaky against Antonelli and Bonaventura.
HALF-TIME: ISRAEL 1-2 ITALY
45' + 2' And now Chiellini goes close! The cross from the corner bounces around the Israel penalty area before finally reaching the centre-back, but his first-time strike fails to find its way through the sea of white shirts camped in front of him and ends up bouncing out of the box and, eventually, away from danger.
45' + 1' What a save by Goresh! Pelle rises high and nods the ball over to Candreva, who immediately fires a great cross back towards the striker. He beats his marker once again before sending a downward header towards the bottom right-hand corner of the net, but Goresh does brilliantly to tip the effort round the post with an excellent diving stop.
45' The fourth official has indicated that there will be just one minute of added time.
43' Ben Haim holds up the ball well in the middle of the pitch before being clattered into by Verratti, resulting in a free-kick for Israel just inside the Italy half of the pitch. The set-piece is taken short and worked back to the winger, this time nearer to the penalty area, but once again Verratti is there to dispossess the goalscorer before being fouled himself.
41' Antonelli clumsily loses the ball over on the left wing, allowing Ben Bitton to beat the wing-back easily before quickly finding Ben Haim. The goalscorer picks up the ball in a dangerous position just outside of the Italy box and immediately tries to muscle his way into the penalty area, but Chiellini does well to dispossess him with a well-timed tackle.
39' Israel are doing well to hold on to possession as they try to find an equaliser before half-time. Italy haven't looked entirely comfortable at the back and are starting to make a few mistakes with the ball at their feet, which seems to be filling the hosts with confidence.
37' A determined Israel attacking move comes to an end on the edge of the penalty area thanks to good defending by Verratti, who then kick-starts a quick counter-attack. Eder twists and turns through the middle of the pitch before reaching the hosts' box and shooting, but his low effort is underhit and fails to trouble Goresh.
T. Hemed
Assist
Israel
35' Hemed did well to put pressure on Chiellini and force the centre-back into making a clumsy error, but the defender hasn't looked at all comfortable this evening. Far too often he's been sloppy with his passing, and the yellow card hanging over his head is also a cause for concern.
T. Ben Chaim
Goal
Israel
35' GOAL! What a wonderful strike by Ben Haim! A poor mistake by Chiellini gifts the ball to Hemed, who immediately nods it down into the path of Ben Haim. The winger darts towards the edge of the penalty area and then sends a beautiful chipped shot that sails over the head of Buffon and into the back of the net. What a way to get your side back into the game!
34' Ben Haim makes a nuisance of himself deep down the right flank as he battles with Chiellini and Antonelli. The winger then spins before picking out Ben Bitton, who is in a pocket of space just behind him, but the right-back's attempted cross towards Zahavi is poorly hit and sails over the number seven and out for a throw-in on the opposite wing.
33' Eder almost takes advantage of lax defending from Israel once again as he darts through the hosts' back line before trying to latch on to a smart pass from Pelle, but the ball into the box ends up rolling just past the Inter striker's outstretched foot and rolls into the hands of Goresh.
A. Candreva
Penalty Goal
Italy
31' GOAL! Candreva steps up and comfortably beats Goresh with a calmly taken shot that sends the goalkeeper the wrong way before nestling into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
30' PENALTY! Bonaventura darts down the left wing on a great run before cutting inside and beating Ben Bitton far too easily as he skips into the penalty area. He looks up and sets himself to cross, but just as he's about to do so he's brought crashing to the ground by a clumsy challenge from the Israel full-back, leaving the referee with no choice but to point to the spot.
29' Zahavi steps up and tries to curl a cross into the penalty area from the resulting free-kick, but it's slightly underhit and Bonaventura is easily able to clear the danger with a strong header from the edge of the box.
G. Chiellini
Yellow Card
Italy
28' A poor touch from Chiellini sends the ball bouncing into the feet of Ben Haim, who is immediately clattered into by the Italy defender. The referee isn't at all happy with the clumsy challenge, and he shows the Juventus man the first yellow card of the game as a result.
27' Eder darts through the middle of the Israel back line on a great run before latching on to a dangerous pass forward from Bonucci, but as soon as he makes contact with the ball just outside of the penalty area he's flagged offside, much to the relief of the hosts.
26' A clumsy challenge from Barzagli sends Hemed crashing to the ground, and Israel are awarded a free-kick in the middle of the pitch. They decide to send it short before working the ball over to Davidzada on the left wing, but the full-back's attempted cross is poor and fails to beat the first man on the edge of the penalty area.
24' The hosts win themselves a throw-in midway inside the Italy half of the pitch, and it's one that's taken quickly before being worked over to Kayal. The midfielder immediately charges towards the edge of the penalty area before unleashing a low shot from 20 yards out, but it's poorly hit and ends up rolling comfortably wide of the goal.
22' An attempted Israel attacking move comes to a disappointing end, allowing Italy to push forward on a move of their own. Once again, Candreva gets himself into a good position deep down the right wing before swinging an excellent cross into the box, but Tibi is just about able to beat Eder to the ball with a strong headed clearance.
20' Israel embark on a good series of passes as they patiently work their way towards the Italy penalty area. Davidzada and Zahavi link up well deep down the left wing as the duo try to find a way past Candreva and Parolo, but the Italians come out on top and force the hosts all the way back to the halfway line.
18' A poor pass from Bonucci can only find a blue shirt, and Israel immediately break forward on a quick counter-attack. Zahavi twists and turns as he weaves his way towards the edge of the penalty area, but Barzagli is easily able to dispossess the winger before he can pick out a teammate.
16' Israel push forward through the middle of the pitch as they quickly try to find a way back into the game, but, despite managing to get the ball into a dangerous position, Hemed is easily dealt with by Bonucci and Barzagli just outside of the penalty area.
L. Antonelli
Assist
Italy
14' Goresh was always going to struggle to stop Pelle's close-range effort, but Israel will be disappointed with the way that they defended in the build-up to the goal. Antonelli was left in far too much space down the left and, in the end, took advantage of lax defending with a well-placed cross.
G. Pellè
Goal
Italy
14' GOAL! Italy have taken the lead! Verratti skips through the middle of the pitch and skips past Yeini far too easily before sending the ball over to Antonelli. The wing-back is in acres of space on the edge of the penalty and immediately sends a lovely low cross into the middle of the box, where Pelle is easily able to beat Goresh with his first-time, close-range tap-in.
13' The hosts come back once again, this time through Ben Haim, who darts into a pocket of space over on the right-hand side of the Italy penalty area. He receives the ball completely unmarked and immediately cuts towards goal, but he's quickly closed down by white shirts and is eventually dispossessed by Bonaventura before he can unleash a shot.
12' Israel are enjoying a good spell of possession at the moment and are causing Italy a few problems deep inside their half of the pitch. Once again, Hemed plays an important role in the attacking move after linking up well with Kayal, but his shot is scuffed slightly before being blocked by Barzagli in the middle of the box.
10' Kayal has his shirt ripped as he battles for the ball with Antonelli, but, despite the midfielder's protests, the referee doesn't award the hosts a free-kick and allows play to go on. Israel move the ball around wonderfully before Zahavi receives it on the edge of the penalty area, but his attempted pass through towards Hemed fails to find the striker and ends up rolling out of play for a goal-kick.
8' Italy quickly regain possession before Antonelli is dragged down by Ben Haim, resulting in a free-kick for the visitors in a dangerous position over on the left flank. Candreva steps up and curls a cross into the heart of the penalty area, but it's overhit and sails comfortably into the hands of Goresh.
7' Italy comfortably deal with the danger from the corner before flying forward on a swift counter-attack. Eder charges down the right wing and cuts inside before firing a low cross into the middle of the Israel penalty area, but Tibi is there to blast the ball out for a throw-in before Pelle can reach it on the edge of the six-yard box.
6' A poor pass from Chiellini can only find Zahavi, allowing Israel to break forward on a quick counter-attack. The forward sets up Kayal, who twists and turns on the edge of the penalty area before eventually teeing up Hemed, but the striker's first-time shot ends up deflecting off a white shirt and out for a corner.
5' Israel move the ball around well in the middle of the pitch as they embark on a series of smart passes. Hemed plays an important role in the move before sending the ball out to the left wing, where it finds Davidzada, but the full-back is quickly put under pressure and can only blast the ball out for an Italy throw-in.
3' The corner fails to trouble the hosts, who do well to deal with the danger and send the ball out to the left flank. Italy quickly win back the ball, however, before Barzagli tries to tee up Candreva with a lofted, cross-field pass, but the defender's ball forward fails to find the Inter man and sails out of play for a throw-in.
2' Italy immediately embark on a great start to the game as they quickly break forward on an early attack. Pelle rises high and meets the ball on the edge of the penalty area before nodding it over to Candreva, and the wing-back does well to win his side a corner after his cross fails to beat Nir Bitton.
1' And we're off! Italy get us underway, attacking from right to left.
The two sides are making their way out onto the pitch, with just a few minutes to go until kick-off.
Meanwhile, Italy boss Giampiero Ventura has also made three alterations to the team that lost at home to France last week, with Davide Astori, Daniele De Rossi and Mattia De Sciglio making way for Leonardo Bonucci, Luca Antonelli and Marco Verratti, the latter of whom is set to make his first international start since last October.
Elisha Levy has decided to make three changes to the Israel side that started the defeat against Serbia, with Ben Bitton, Beram Kayal and Tomer Hemed coming into the starting line-up to replace Bibras Natcho, Maor Melikson and Munas Dabbur, respectively.
Italy substitutes: De Sciglio, Astori, Ogbonna, Florenzi, Immobile, Donnarumma, Marchetti, Montolivo, Pavoletti, Bernardeschi, Gabbiadini, Rugani.
Italy XI (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Candreva, Parolo, Verratti, Bonaventura, Antonelli; Eder, Pelle.
Israel substitutes: Harush, Dasa, Gershon, Natcho, Dabbur, Einbinder, Mugrabi, Atzili, Saief, Kehat, Golasa, Kleyman.
Israel XI (4-3-3): Goresh; Ben Bitton, Tibi, Tzedek, Davidzada; Kayal, Nir Bitton, Yeini; Ben Haim, Hemed, Zahavi.
There’s just over 15 minutes left to go until kick-off, so let’s have a look at how the two teams will be lining up this evening…
Like Italy, this evening's hosts are also under relatively new management, with former Hapoel Be’er Sheva boss Elisha Levy taking over from Eli Guttman in April. The only game under the watchful eye of the new head coach ended in a 3-1 defeat against Serbia, and Levy will no doubt be expecting another tough game against strong opponents tonight.
As for Israel, a tough qualifying campaign denied them the opportunity to reach their first ever European Championship, with only Cyprus and minnows Andorra finishing behind them in their group. The high point of their campaign was a 3-0 win at home to Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of 2014, but since then Andorra are the only side that the Blue and Whites have managed to beat in nine games.
Italy will no doubt have felt frustrated when they were drawn alongside Spain in Group G, as the 2010 world champions are their main rivals for the top spot and the automatic qualification place that it brings. With Albania, Macedonia and Liechtenstein making up the rest of the group, there should be few problems for Italy, who will nonetheless want to pick up a comfortable win today to take into next month’s important clash at home to Spain.
Giampiero Ventura’s first game in charge of the Italy team didn’t quite go to plan and ended in a 3-1 victory for France, so the former Torino manager will be looking to bounce back tonight with what should be a relatively routine win for his new side. The Azzurri were narrowly knocked out by Germany in this summer’s European Championship but will nonetheless be relatively happy with how they performed. However, with Antonio Conte gone and Ventura now at the helm, today marks a new start for a team that should comfortably qualify for the World Cup.
Good evening and welcome to our live text commentary of today’s World Cup 2018 qualifier between Israel and Italy at the Sammy Ofer Stadium.
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