Israel's hopes of qualifying for UEFA EURO 2004™ were ended in a game where they needed a late equaliser to deny Malta their first victory in Group 1.
First point for Malta
Only wins from their last two games would have given Israel a chance of a play-off place after their defeat by Slovenia on Saturday, but in a match played in Antalya, Turkey, the Maltese worked impressively to earn their first point of their campaign.
Malta began strongly and dominated the first ten minutes. Gradually, though, an Israeli side inspired by Josef Abukasis and Eyal Berkovic in midfield took control. They went close in the 15th minute through Walid Badir, and within 60 seconds were in front when Haim Revivo moved into the area and shot in powerfully.
Pini Balili then volleyed over as Israel dominated the rest of the half, but after the break it was a different story as a Maltese revival saw them both equalise and take the lead - something they had not done in any of their six previous group matches.
On 51 minutes they were level when Shimon Gershon handled the ball in the Israeli area and Michael Mifsud converted the resulting penalty. A minute later, Malta took the lead when David Carabott cut in to the box and scored.
However, they were denied victory 12 minutes from time when Abukasis's cross was headed in by Balili. Yet Israel could not snatch a win themselves, and Slovenia were confirmed in the top two of the group, regardless of their result against France later in the day.