Israeli representatives FC Carmiel Safed are one step from the 2010/11 UEFA Regions' Cup final tournament after winning preliminary round Group B in Hungary.
A 1-0 win against hosts West Hungary in the decider in Sopron ensured Carmiel Safed progressed with a maximum nine points. In April 2011 they will compete in intermediary round Group 4 against the Slovenian representatives MNZ Murska Sobota and this month's other two preliminary round winners.
West Hungary and Carmiel Safed both went into the deciding final match with 100% records having both beaten Malatia of Azerbaijan and Prahova Muntenia of Romania. The Israeli side's superior goal difference however meant Western Hungary needed to win their encounter.
Carmiel Safed's tactics, defending in deep and swift counterattacking, had already given them a 2-0 win against much-fancied Prahova Muntenia on Matchday 2. Ilia Zalka – who had already scored in the 5-0 defeat of Malatia and again versus Prahova Muntenia – broke the deadlock against West Hungary on 15 minutes from Mohammad Savaed's cross.
The Israeli side clung on in the second half despite coming under tremendous pressure, Szabolcs Müllerlei hitting the post and putting the rebound over in the best of the chances. Goalkeeper Rabah Rabah made a string of saves including from Müllerlei's late free-kick.
"The Romanians and Hungarians were very good teams, so against them we tried to close the middle and break quickly," said the winning coach Oded Cotter. "We had a little bit of luck particularly against the Romanians, but we are delighted to come away from Hungary as group winners."
Home coach Péter Króner reflected: "We started sleepily and were punished for it, only waking up after the goal. We wanted to win out there so badly at home that I think we tried too hard. We didn't show any composure in front of goal." West Hungary can still qualify for the intermediary round as one of the best two runners-up from the three preliminary groups.
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