Ben Sahar ensured Guy Levy ended his reign as Israel coach on a high with the only goal of the game against Moldova at the Ramat Gan in Tel-Aviv.
Sahar struck on seven minutes to earn Israel their fourth win in Group 9 to take them level on 13 points with leaders Germany, who have played a game less, in the race for a place in the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship. Levy became the first coach to lead Israel to the final tournament last summer and he ends his four-year reign having won 19 of his 37 games in charge.
Israel went ahead early on when Sheffield Wednesday FC striker Sahar touched in from close range after Ilie Cebanu had saved Maor Buzaglo's shot. Buzaglo and Sahar combined again soon after, with Buzaglo shooting past Cebanu after a fine run and interchange of passes with Sahar only for his strike to be ruled out for offside. Moldova's best chance of the half came a minute before the interval when Ori Shitrit cleared Mihail Turcan's shot off the line.
Moldova, who had beaten Israel 1-0 in the corresponding fixture last September, began the second period where they left off the first by pressing the home side deep in their half. Israel goalkeeper Ohad Levita, however, was in fine form and denied Turcan on 63 minutes before Alexandru Dedov struck the post 60 seconds later.
Levy introduced Sheran Yeini and Idan Srur to try and break Moldova's stranglehold in midfield and though the visiting side continued to enjoy most of the possession, they were unable to find a way through as Levy signed off with victory. "It's a happy moment tinged with sadness, but I enjoyed every moment and did everything from my heart," Levy said. "I don't know where I'm going besides home to rest for a few days. I hope the team qualifies. I feel like a gardener, who has worked on a garden for four years and would always be happy to pass by the garden in the future and see how the flowers are blooming."