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Irish fightback contains contenders

Published: Friday 3 June 2005, 22.52CET
Republic of Ireland 2-2 Israel Ireland recover from two down but Israel are closer to the play-offs.
Published: Friday 3 June 2005, 22.52CET

Irish fightback contains contenders

Republic of Ireland 2-2 Israel Ireland recover from two down but Israel are closer to the play-offs.

Israel saw a two-goal lead disappear against the Republic of Ireland, but are now within one victory of securing a UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying play-off place.

Israel streak ahead
Top of Group 4 following vital March victories against Ireland and France in March, Israel could have stretched their lead over Les Blues to six points tonight. And they looked to be on their way when Moshe Ohayon put them ahead on four minutes and Gal Alberman doubled the lead nine minutes before half-time.

Irish comeback
But Don Givens's side knew that at least a point was needed to keep their slim hopes alive, and pulled one back through Daryl Murphy, on the day he signed for Sunderland AFC, in the 65th minute. Kevin Doyle then levelled the scores with 13 minutes remaining, and they remain fourth knowing they require victory in all three of their remaining games to have any hope of reaching the finals, starting with the visit of France on 6 September.

Three points away
Guy Levi's side have just one match remaining, the next fixture in the group in Switzerland on 2 September, and three points would ensure a top-two finish even though all their four pool rivals will have three games left. The coach said of today's game: "You can't separate this display into two halves. I am still proud of my players for a committed display.

High expectations
"If three months ago we talked of salvaging a draw, I would have been accused of daydreaming. It is obvious that good results raise the level of expectations. You don't always get what you want. It is more painful when you let a two-goal lead slip, but it could have been worse - another goal and we would have lost."

Last updated: 28/03/13 3.29CET

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