Northern Ireland lost 2-0 at home to Israel in World Cup qualifying Group F
Last Updated: March 26, 2013 11:16pm
Goals in the second half by Lion Refaelov and Eden Ben Basat secured Israel a 2-0 victory away against Northern Ireland in World Cup qualifying Group F on Tuesday evening.
Other than moments of positive play and hard work Northern Ireland failed to yield enough clearcut opportunities. For Michael O'Neill, who has not won in nine matches at the helm, it was a bitter pill to take.
Israel looked like they would grab the game by the scruff of the neck when Swansea striker Itay Shechter struck the outside of the post from a short-corner routine, but thereafter the hosts had much the better of things.
Shane Ferguson's enthusiasm on the left was the catalyst, a neat flick and a testing cross lifting his side. Niall McGinn was the first to take his lead, beating Rami Gershon on the right before slightly over-hitting his cross.
A lengthy spell of possession ended with Paterson outmuscled by Tal Ben Haim as he looked to latch onto Davis' through ball in the 18th minute.
Northern Ireland's industry almost earned them a goal just after the half-hour mark when Paterson battled to win possession on the byline and cut back to Davis.
The skipper looked sure to convert from six yards but goalkeeper Dudu Aouate saw a powerful shot hit him flush in the face before Ferguson's reaction header was swept from the line by Yuval Shpungin.
The second half started slowly, Northern Ireland doing most of the pressing but without creating anything concrete.
Davis went close to a stunning opener in the 59th minute after McGinn's pacy counter-attack drove his side forward. The Southampton midfielder took down a loose ball with aplomb and then sent a 20-yard rocket inches wide of the top corner.
Paterson twice appealed penalties unsuccessfully, Ben Haim and Aouate both cleared by the referee after seeing the striker go to ground.
Then, in the 77th minute, Israel defied the run of play to take the lead. Israel substitute Refaelov was the scorer with a delightful finish across Carroll, having been teed up by a smart one-touch pass from Shechter.
O'Neill sent on Pat McCourt and David Healy in a bid to change his side's fortune but instead they leaked a second six minutes from time. The otherwise excellent Evans botched a defensive header, Shechter broke and Ben Basat finished clinically.
|Northern Ireland||Team Statistics||Israel|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|2||Shots on Target||4|
|6||Shots off Target||2|
|60.5||1st Half Poss.||39.5|
|58.2||2nd Half Poss.||41.8|
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FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Tue 26th Mar - Group B
Armenia0 - 3Czech Rep
Denmark1 - 1Bulgaria
Malta0 - 2Italy
Tue 26th Mar - Group D
Estonia2 - 0Andorra
Turkey1 - 1Hungary
Netherlands4 - 0Romania
Tue 26th Mar - Group F
Azerbaijan0 - 2Portugal
N Ireland0 - 2Israel
Tue 26th Mar - Group H
Ukraine2 - 1Moldova
Poland5 - 0San Marino
Montenegro1 - 1England
Tue 26th Mar - Group A
Serbia2 - 0Scotland
Belgium1 - 0Macedonia
Wales1 - 2Croatia
Tue 26th Mar - Group C
Rep Ireland2 - 2Austria
Germany4 - 1Kazakhstan
Tue 26th Mar - Group I
France0 - 1Spain
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||5||8|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I
Northern Ireland v Israel
Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill cut a frustrated figure after his side's 2-0 defeat to Israel at Windsor Park.
Lior Refaelov came off the substitutes bench to score Israel's first against Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill was left disappointed after his side's home defeat to Israel.