PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Israel’s chances of reaching the European Championship finals went down Sunday after its 1-0 loss to Kosovo in their delayed qualifying game.
It was the first soccer match for Israel since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and the ongoing war in Gaza. It had originally been scheduled for Oct. 15 but was postponed.
Kosovo fans whistled Israeli players when they had the ball but the game passed off peacefully in Pristina.
Milot Rashica scored the only goal in the 41st minute. He controlled the ball in the area and under pressure managed a strong shot which Israel goalkeeper Omri Glazer couldn’t stop.
Glazer had a busy night, including denying Vedat Muriqi twice in the second half.
Israel’s first good opportunity came in the 34th with a close-range header from Eran Zahavi. Goalkeeper Arijanet Muric saved a shot from Israel’s Oscar Gloukh nine minutes from the end.
Israel went down to 10 men in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time after Roy Revivo was sent off for a second yellow card.
Fourth-place Kosovo has 10 points in Group I, one point behind third-place Israel.
But Israel is five points behind leader Romania, which has played one game more, and four points behind Switzerland. The top two teams automatically qualify for Euro 2024 in Germany.
“We are more disappointed because we cannot give some happiness or (a) smile for our people at home,” Israel coach Alon Hazan said after the game.
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