| TEL AVIV, March 26
TEL AVIV, March 26 Beram Kayal's late goal gave
Israel a 2-1 win over Latvia in a Euro 2012 Group F qualifier on
Saturday to maintain their hopes of reaching the finals of a
major competition for the first time since 1970.
The hosts, playing at the compact Bloomfield Stadium,
delivered a performance to send the fans home with a smile and
lift the pressure on embattled coach Luis Fernandez.
Israel have struggled since the Frenchman took over a year
ago but he fielded a number of new, young faces against Latvia
and the move paid off.
The margin of victory could have been bigger but for some
wayward finishing from Israel who last qualified for a major
competition when they played at the 1970 World Cup finals in
Elyaniv Barda scrambled the ball over the line to put Israel
in front after 16 minutes but Latvia equalised when Kaspars
Gorkss took advantage of a defensive mix-up to score in the
Israel though increased the tempo as Fernandez introduced
two attacking substitutes, Ben Sahar and Maor Buzaglo, and it
was Buzaglo who set up the 81st-minute headed winner for Kayal.
The victory gave Israel seven points from five games and
kept alive their chances of qualifying. Croatia lead the group
with 10 points although they will be overtaken if Greece beat
bottom team Malta later on Saturday.
(Writing by Ori Lewis, editing by Tony Jimenez. To query or
comment on this story email email@example.com)