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Cyprus stun Israel in Jerusalem

Israel 1-2 Cyprus
Jason Demetriou struck ten minutes from time as Cyprus stunned their hosts in Group B to remain in contention for a play-off berth.

Highlights: Israel 1-2 Cyprus
  • Dossa Júnior nods Cyprus ahead on 58 minutes
  • Nir Bitton restores parity from distance
  • Jason Demetriou nets 80th-minute clincher
  • Fourth-placed Israel one point off play-off spot; visitors a further point back
  • Final games: Belgium v Israel, Cyprus v Bosnia and Herzegovina

Jason Demetriou registered ten minutes from time as Cyprus stunned Israel 2-1 in Jerusalem to keep their UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying hopes alive in Group B.

Held to a goalless stalemate by second-placed Wales last time out, the hosts were looking to return to winning ways to strengthen their case for a spot in the play-offs. However, centre-back Dossa Júnior nodded Cyprus ahead on 58 minutes. Nir Bitton restored parity in stunning fashion from distance before Demetriou had the final word just four minutes later.

Needing wins and other results to go their way in order to claim third position, Cyprus began the brighter with George Efrem testing Israel custodian Ofir Marciano inside two minutes. But it was not long before Eli Gutman's team took control as Eran Zahavi, Beram Kayal and Gil Vermouth went close. On 27 minutes Cyprus custodian Antonis Giorgallides made a fine stop to deny Zahavi as the visitors struggled to cope with Israel's counterattacks.

Cyprus coach Charalampos Christodoulou made a change at the restart, bringing on veteran midfielder Constantinos Charalambides as the away side attempted to gain a foothold in the tie. They were eventually rewarded for their persistence when Vincent Laban provided a great cross from a free-kick that Júnior converted.

Gutman's charges rallied and struck back via Bitton's right-footed shot from outside the area. However, on 80 minutes, Charalambides found Demetriou in the box and the No5 lashed the ball into the top corner. Despite late pressure, the Cypriots held on with their hopes of a play-off berth still intact going into the last round of matches.