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Israel indebted to Kayal against Latvia

Israel 2-1 Latvia
Beram Kayal headed a late winner for Luis Fernandez's hosts as they revived their flagging qualification campaign in Group F.

Beram Kayal enjoys his late winning goal for Israel
Beram Kayal enjoys his late winning goal for Israel ©Getty Images

Israel breathed new life into their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group F campaign thanks to Beram Kayal's late winner at Bloomfield Stadium.

Without a victory in their last three qualifiers, Luis Fernandez's charges enjoyed the lion's share of the chances against Latvia but still needed Kayal's 81st-minute header to seal the points, after Kaspars Gorkšs had cancelled out Elyaniv Barda's early opener. The result leaves the hosts fourth, four points shy of section leaders Greece, who went top thanks to an added-time winner in Malta.

Bebras Natcho went close to putting Israel ahead in the ninth minute, when he collected the ball on the edge of the area and drove powerfully towards goal, only for Andris Vaņins to save with his fingertips. The home side did not have to wait long for a breakthrough, though, as Barda slid in after Vaņins was unable to hold an Omar Damari effort, Lior Refaelov having provided a fine pass in the build-up.

Latvia refused to give up hope and levelled shortly after the hour mark, with Gorkšs taking advantage of some lax defending from substitute Jurijs Žigajevs's free-kick. Aleksandrs Starkovs's men were nonetheless denied a point when Kayal nodded in a Maor Bar Buzaglo cross, raising Israel's confidence ahead of the visit of Georgia on Tuesday.

As for Latvia, fifth in the pool on four points, their next competitive outing will be a chance for revenge on home soil on 4 June.