Belfast Telegraph

Friday 27 February 2015

In Pictures: Windsor woe as Northern Ireland lose to Israel

Northern Ireland 0 Israel 2

Michael O'Neill shows his frustration during Tuesday's 2014 World Cup qualifier match between Northern Ireland and Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast
Michael O'Neill shows his frustration during Tuesday's 2014 World Cup qualifier match between Northern Ireland and Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast
Northern Ireland's David Healy as Israel celebrate scoring during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast
Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Northern Ireland fans pictured during the match
Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Israel celebrate after scoring to make it 0-2
Northern Ireland- 26th March 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Northern Ireland Vs Israel World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Northern Ireland fans pictured during the match.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill is dejected after being defeated by Israel in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast
Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Northern Ireland fans pictured during the match
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill is dejected after being defeated by Israel in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast
Martin Patterson screams in disbelief at another wasted chance during Tuesday's 2014 World Cup qualifier match between Northern Ireland and Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast
Martin Patterson and Tal Ben Haim during Tuesday's 2014 World Cup qualifier match between Northern Ireland and Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast
Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Northern Ireland fans pictured during the match
Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson with Israel's Eitan Tibi (left) and Tal Ben Haim
Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Israel's Lior Refaelov (left) and Rami Gershan celebrate after they score to make it 0-1
Northern Ireland v Israel World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast. Israel celebrate after they score to make it 0-1
Israel's Lior Refaelov scores past Northern Irelands Roy Carroll during Tuesday night's World Cup Group F qualifier match at Windsor Park
World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland v Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast
Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson with Israel's Tal Ben Haim during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast
Northern Ireland's Roy Carroll is dejected after Northern Ireland's defeat by Israel in Tuesday's World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast
Northern Ireland's Roy Carroll is dejected after Northern Ireland's defeat by Israel in Tuesday's World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast
?Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 25th March 2013 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Darren Kidd /Presseye.com World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland v Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast. Northern Ireland's Steven Davis is dejected after being defeated by Israel in Tuesdays World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley is dejected after defeat by Israel in Tuesday's World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast
Northern Ireland's Chris Brunt with Israel's Maor Melikson during Tuesday night's World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast
Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson challenges Israel's ETal Ben Haim during Tuesday night's World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast
Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson with Israel's Dudu Aouate during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast
Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson appeals for a penalty against Israel during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast
Northern Ireland fans during Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Israel at Windsor Park, Belfast
Presseye Northern Ireland - 26th March 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with Israel's Sheran Yeini?during Tuesday nights World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with Israel's Dudu Aouate during Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson during Tuesday night's World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast
Presseye Northern Ireland - 26th March 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Martin Patterson during Tuesday nights World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Israel Lior Refaelov is mobbed by team mates after opening the scoring against Northern Ireland during Tuesday night's World Cup Group F qualifier match at Windsor Park
Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carroll pictured after Israel's second goal in a 2-0 victory during Tuesday night's World Cup Group F qualifier match at Windsor Park
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 26th March 2013 Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ Presseye Northern Ireland Chris Brunt and Israel Lior Refaelov during Tuesday night's World Cup Group F Qualifier match at Windsor Park.
Israel's Eden Ben Basat (centre) celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Northern Ireland during Tuesday night's World Cup Group F qualifier match at Windsor Park
Northern Ireland Gareth McAuley and Israel's Itay Shechter during Tuesday night's World Cup Group F qualifier match at Windsor Park

Northern Ireland's Windsor Park misery continued as two late goals from Israel saw them defeated despite dominating for much of the game.

After disappointing home draws against Luxembourg and Azerbaijan in their last two World Cup qualifiers they failed to convert possession and territory into goals before sucker punch strikes from Lior Refaelov (77) and Eden Ben Basat (84) cost them dear.

Captain Steven Davis went closest to getting his side on the scoresheet, but with three points from five matches in Group F and a winless run of 13 games, their prospects look grim from here.

Davis was denied in unlikely circumstances just after the half-hour mark, his close-range shot deflected by goalkeeper Dudu Aouate's face and he was almost on target in the second half with a powerfully hit effort from 20 yards.

Other than that Northern Ireland's positive play and hard work 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.

Having restored Sammy Clingan and Martin Paterson to his starting XI in the absence of suspended pair Chris Baird and Kyle Lafferty, he will have been pleased by his side's first-half display.

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.

Chris Brunt, so often short of his West Brom form when on international duty, was next to step up.

He worried Israel with a free-kick and then almost succeeded in teeing up Paterson with a low shot that was touched wide by the Burnley man from the edge of the box.

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 Aouate saw a powerful shot hit him flush in the face before Ferguson's reaction header was swept from the line by Yuval Shpungin.

Follow up efforts from Brunt and Aaron Hughes were blocked and the chance was gone.

They continued to press without reward, Gareth McAuley's drilled ball across the six-yard line going unconverted despite numerous bodies in the box.

The second half started slowly, Northern Ireland doing most of the pressing but without creating anything concrete.

The seven minutes after the restart, Israel almost caught their opponents out.

Shechter intercepted a throw-in and when Ben Basat fed Maor Melikson, Roy Carroll needed to be alert to save at his near post.

Davis then 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.

Neither case looked compelling, but Paterson was aghast.

With 17 minutes to go O'Neill made his first change, sending on Aberdeen's Josh Magennis for a competitive debut in place of Ferguson.

Northern Ireland continued to search for the breakthrough, Daniel Lafferty's curled cross nodded away from the waiting Paterson.

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.

end

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre