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October 15, 2013
• National Stadium Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv
Referee: L. Duhamel
• Attendance: 12785
E. Ben Basat 43'
S. Davis 72'
90' + 3'
FULL-TIME and it finishes 1-1 between Israel and Northern Ireland in Tel-Aviv. Despite late pressure, the hosts could not force a way through as Steven Davis' excellently-dispatched volley cancelled out Eden Ben Basat's perfectly-placed header on the stroke of half-time.
Chris Baird does excellently to thwart the dangerous Eden Ben Basat at the far post after Israel launch a bombardment on the Northern Ireland goal but the visitors cope well with the danger. Can they hang on?
Bibras Natcho's devilish delivery from a free-kick is well dealt with by the visitors' defence, as a defensive flick-on sees the ball head out of play to safety.
Yellow Card Craig Cathcart
Confusion at the back leads to an unnecessary corner being conceded as Dudu Aouate misjudges the bounce of the ball with Martin Paterson closing in on goal.
Shane Ferguson is introduced for the visitors while the home side bring on former Swansea City striker Itay Shechter for the closing stages.Maor Melikson threatens to nab the winner with a low drive from outside the area but Roy Carroll is well stationed to deal with the danger.
Northern Ireland go close to taking the lead for the first time as Martin Paterson is denied by a smart stop by Dudu Aouate after an exquisite dink over the top from Chris Brunt.
Israel come forward once more but their move breaks down as Northern Ireland show the sort of resolute defending they failed to at the end of the first half to foil the home side.
Assist Jamie Ward
Goal Steven Davis
GOAL! Northern Ireland are level and it is the man who has been their best player on the night who grabs it, as Steven Davis slams home on the half-volley to draw his side level.The ball is worked out to the right-hand side of the area where Davis is waiting patiently. The ball bounces up and the Southampton midfielder catches it perfectly, burying it into the corner of the net to leave Dudu Aouate hapless.
Tal Ben Haimm
Sammy Clingan is down, meaning a slight delay in the game and Israel take the opportunity to replace Eran Zahavi with Tal Ben Chaim.Yes, you read that right. Not Ben Haim, Ben Chaim.
Jamie Ward enters the fray for the disappointing Niall McGinn here. Can Northern Ireland stir themselves for an equaliser?
Steven Davis unleashes a drive from distance which takes a wicked deflection off half-time introduction Dekel Keinan and sails behind for a corner.Unfortunately, Sammy Clingan's delivery is poor and Dudu Aouate claims with ease.
Lior Refaelov does well to get a shot away across the face of goal after yet more good work from the exciting Eyal Meshumar but no-one is on hand to provide a touch to turn the ball home.
Maor Melikson is in hard on Rory McArdle to concede a free-kick but, other than that, there is still not a lot to shout about in terms of goalmouth action at the start of this second half.
It has been a slow start to the second period, with both sides hoping to hit the other on the counter and pinch, what you sense will be, the crucial second goal in this game.
Craig Cathcart is the latest Northern Ireland player to end up in the wars as he suffers some heavy bruising after contesting a header from a deep free-kick. The subsequent corner comes to nothing.
Eyal Meshumar advances down the right once again but his cross fails to pick anyone out as Northern Ireland benefit from a poor delivery from that side for once.
Tal Ben Haim
Northern Ireland get us back underway for the second half.
HALF-TIME and Israel lead 1-0 here at the interval thanks to Eden Ben Basat's header just a few minutes ago as the host began to ascert their dominance on the game in the latter stages of the opening period.Until then, it had been a fairly even half but more and more gaps are opening up in Michael O'Neill's side's backline.
Assist Eyal Meshumar
Goal Eden Ben Basat
GOAL! Israel take the lead right on the stroke of half-time just as I said that they were turning up the pressure.More good work down the right from the energetic Eyal Meshumar results in the perfect cross for the prolific Eden Ben Basat, who gets between both Craig Cathcart and Rory McArdle to meet the centre and steer an excellent header beyond the statuesque Roy Carroll.
Neat interplay down the right between Maor Melikson and Eyal Meshumar results in the latter firing in a low cross which has to be cleared out for a corner.The visitors fail to clear their lines and Bibras Natcho first sends in a centre which Roy Carroll volleys away with his feet before curling a perfectly-weighted pass around the defence for Eden Ben Basat but Rory McArdle pipped both the Toulouse striker and his own keeper to it as a defensive mix-up ensued. Northern Ireland get away with it this time but Israel are beginning to crank up the pressure.
Bibras Natcho lines one up from long range and tests Roy Carroll with a low drive, but the former Manchester United keeper never looked troubled by the Rubin Kazan schemer's shot.Moments later, he repeats the trick but is foiled by Carroll once more.
The Israel fans cry for a penalty as Eyal Meshumar goes down under pressure from Niall McGinn after a well-worked move across the pitch from the hosts.Referee Laurent Duhamel, however, is unmoved by the pleas and waves play on.
Corry Evans is pictured on the bench with an ice-pack strapped to his ankle as he looks on disconsolately.On the pitch, Daniel Lafferty takes aim from range but his left-footed shot sails high over the bar.
Chris Brunt's first contribution is to shoot over the bar from 25 yards with a stinging effort as he makes his intentions clear from an early stage.At the other end, Rory McArdle gets a crucial touch to deny the Israelis with Eden Ben Basat and Lior Refaelov in attendance to tuck the ball home.
Corry Evans is forced off despite trying to re-enter the fray, as Chris Brunt steps off the bench to replace him.A fierce cross is fired into the Northern Ireland six-yard box but Rory McArdle does well to re-adjust and deal with the danger.
Yellow Card Sherran Yeini
Corry Evans is down following a collision and has been receiving treatment for the last few minutes and Sherran Yeini is booked for the challenge.
Eran Zahavi wastes the first real sighting of goal in this contest as he lashes a volley wide of the far post from Tal Ben Haim's cross.After patient build-up, the former Bolton and Chelsea defender whipped in a superb delivery which was crying out for a finish. Sadly, Zahavi couldn't provide it.
The game, understandably, has been a rather dull affair to this point, with neither side having much to play for. Israel continue to dictate the pace of the game but Northern Ireland are more than holding their own.
Sammy Clingan tries his luck from range after some neat pass-and-move football from Northern Ireland but his strike ricochets off a defender and eventually finds it way back to Dudu Aouate in the Israel goal.
Chris Baird's lofted ball over the top of the Israel defence sparks panic and Dudu Aouate is lukcy to get away with what looked like a shove on Martin Paterson, who had darted in behind to try and latch onto the pass. Positive start from the visitors.
Northern Ireland winger Niall McGinn sends in an inviting centre but no-one is on hand to supply a decisive touch, as Dudu Aouate gathers the ball easily.
Both sides are sizing each other up at the moment, Natcho tries to thread a pass through the heart of the Northern Ireland defence but the ball is cut out and subsequently cleared by Bradford City defender Rory McArdle.
Israel kick off and we are underway in this final World Cup Group F qualifier.
The previous meeting between these two sides was the reverse fixture in World Cup qualifying Group F, with tonight's hosts coming out on top at Windsor Park thanks to two goals in the last five minutes.Eden Ben Basat, who scored his country's equaliser against Portugal on Friday, grabbed one of the late strikes and will hope to repeat the trick again tonight to condemn Northern Ireland, without the suspended Jonny Evans, Gareth McAuley and Oliver Norwood this evening, to a third successive away defeat.
And here's the Israel starting XI, which features three changes from the side that earned a credible 1-1 draw against Portugal on Friday.Aouate; Meshumar, Ben Haim, Davidadze, Tibi; Yeini, Melikson; Natcho, Zahavi, Ben Basat; Rafaelov.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE commentary of Israel v Northern Ireland, where both sides have very little to play for this evening in Tel-Aviv.Either way, here is the Northern Ireland starting XI, with manager Michael O'Neill making six changes to the side that lost to Azerbaijan on Friday.Carroll; Hodson, Cathcart, McArdle, Lafferty; Baird, Evans; Clingan, Davis, McGinn; Paterson.
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