By Ofer Ronen-Abels
Gal Alberman's 88th-minute winner gave Israel a dramatic victory against France that takes them to the top of UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 4.
Two wins away
France led Israel on head-to-head record before kick-off thanks to their 1-0 win in September. But since then Israel have only dropped two points, and if they triumph in their remaining fixtures in the Republic of Ireland on 3 June and Switzerland four months later, they will be guaranteed a play-off berth for the first time in this competition.
Moshe Ohayon gave Israel an eleventh-minute advantage with a shot from the edge of the area but Jérémy Mathieu headed the equaliser four minutes later. Ronald Zubar put France in front from distance two minutes later, yet within seconds an incredible spell ended with Shlomi Harbitman's effort being fumbled into the net by visiting goalkeeper Jérémy Gavanon.
Despite plenty of action, it seemed the game was destined to be drawn until Israel's senior side entered the Herzliya Municipal stadium to prepare for a training session ahead of Wednesday's FIFA World Cup qualifier - moments later Alberman nodded in Liran Cohen's free-kick.
Israel coach Guy Levi said of France: "They are an excellent side with players from the top French division, which makes our achievement even greater." His counterpart René Girard, whose team do not play another group game until 6 September in Ireland, declared: "It seems Israel and France will fight all the way to win the group."
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