Israel upset Republic of Ireland again in World Cup Qualifiers

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Having come back in the final minute of time to draw 1-1 with Israel in Tel Aviv two months ago, Brian Kerr's squad were determined not to let it happen a second time in last nights sell out Lansdowne Road Group 4 World Cup qualifier clash. However despite two early goals for the Republic of Ireland, the Israelis still managed to claw back a draw - much to the dismay of onlooking Irish supporters.

After just five minutes, Ian Harte scored from a 25 yard free kick putting the homeside ahead just like in the first match. However unlike in the first game, the Irish did not slow down the pace and become conservative. At the 11th minute mark, Robbie Keane scored Ireland's second goal of the match; much to the delight - and even moreso relief of the Irish supporters in the crowd of 34,000.

In a seemingly comfortable position, disaster hit the Irish team when Robbie Keane left for the bench with a shoulder injury sustained in the third minute of the game. As the 40th minute approached, Israel's Benayoun and Avi Yehiel combined efforts to put the ball in the back of the Irish net to bring their team back into the game. Things went from bad to worse for the Irish as the first half drew to a close with John O'Shea getting a yellow card in the Irish box - and giving his opposition a penalty. The penalty was scored three time by Nimni, but only on his third attempt did it count - the first two disallowed because the referee had not blown his whistle.

The second half proved to be less fruitious for both teams, with no goals scored. The Irish became increasingly frustrated as the game progressed because of perceived Israeli time-wasting. As the game became more scrappy Andy O'Brien got sent off when he attempted to block the Israeli keeper from punching the ball.

The game finished 2-2, much to the despair of the Irish squad, who now can only draw encouragement from the fact that they remain ahead of France in the group table.