Russia were left to rue a host of missed opportunities as a late goal by substitute Amit Ben Shushan salvaged a valuable away point for Israel in UEFA EURO 2008™ Group E.
Dror Kashtan's side had trailed for much of the Moscow encounter after Andrei Arshavin gave the Russians a fifth-minute lead, latching on to Pavel Pogrebnyak's through-ball and slotting past Dudu Awat. It proved the start of a busy afternoon for the Israel goalkeeper but he was not beaten again as the home team failed to make their dominance count, and paid the penalty when the visitors equalised six minutes from time.
The goal condemned Russia to their second home draw from as many qualifiers, and coach Guus Hiddink will reflect on points lost rather than gained. Arshavin's strike came in the midst of a strong opening by the hosts at the Dinamo stadium and Israel were indebted to some fine goalkeeping from Awat for keeping them in contention. The RC Deportivo La Coruña No1 denied both Arshavin and Pogrebnyak, the latter going closest four minutes before half-time when his shot hit a divot and was pushed against the upright.
Coming into the match following back-to-back wins last month, Israel offered little in response, yet upped the tempo after the restart. Half-time substitute Tomer Ben-Yosef tested Igor Akinfeev with a volley on 55 minutes, and after Aleksandr Kerzhakov squandered another chance at the other end, two more Israel replacements eventually combined to provide the equaliser.
Toto Tamuz capitalised on a Vasili Berezutskiy error and although his effort was stopped by Akinfeev, the rebound fell kindly to Ben Shushan, who steered into an empty net to frustrate Russia. Israel share the group lead with England and return to competitive action on 15 November against Croatia in Tel-Aviv. Russia, meanwhile, welcome Estonia to St Petersburg on Wednesday hoping for that elusive first qualifying victory under Hiddink.