In their European Championship qualifying match on Wednesday in neutral Hungary, Israel scored an equaliser in the 88th minute to draw 1-1 with Switzerland and maintain their hopes of making it to the finals in Germany the following year.
The Swiss needed to defeat Kosovo this weekend to guarantee their spot in the finals, but Shon Weissman’s late goal put them two minutes away from doing so.
With 16 points from eight games, the undefeated Swiss topped Group I, but they were only ahead of Romania on goal differential. With two games remaining for each of the three teams, Israel is in third place with 12 points.
After a thorough cross from Edimilson Fernandes in the 36th minute, Ruben Vargas headed home unmarked at the back post, putting Switzerland ahead to win.
Weisman’s equalizer occurred subsequent to Fernandes’s inability to clear the ball, and the Swiss full-back’s problems were exacerbated when he was dismissed in stoppage time for an inept foul.
Weisman leveled the score after Fernandes couldn’t clear the ball, and the Swiss full-back faced further troubles as he received a red card in stoppage time for a clumsy foul.
Switzerland hit the woodwork twice during the match. Noah Okafor struck the post in the 19th minute, and although Vargas put in the rebound, it was disallowed for a foul on defender Sean Goldberg. Vargas nearly doubled his tally five minutes later with a shot off the crossbar.
In the second half, Israel, showing strength, had opportunities to equalize. Anan Khalaili’s header from Dor Turgeman’s cross hit the bar, and Turgeman’s audacious long-range effort forced Yann Sommer to tip the ball over the bar.
Originally scheduled last month, the match was postponed due to security concerns in Israel. Israel now faces a tight schedule, playing four games in nine days to complete their qualifying campaign. After losing 1-0 to Kosovo, their next match is against Romania at the Puskas Academy Arena, followed by the last game in Andorra next Tuesday.
The Swiss, on the other hand, play Kosovo in Basel on Saturday and conclude their campaign away in Romania on Tuesday.
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