Kosovo defeated Israel 1-0 in their rescheduled European Championship qualifier, with Milot Rashica scoring a superb first-half goal. The match, originally scheduled for October 15, was delayed due to the Hamas-Israel conflict. Israel remains in third place with 11 points from seven games, one point ahead of Kosovo who have played eight. Before the game, Kosovo police had prepared an operation to control crowds and prevent criminal acts. Despite calls on social media to ban the Israel team, Kosovo recognized Israel as a sovereign state in 2020 and both countries have diplomatic relations.
In the match, Israel faced a rocky start with boos from the crowd during their national anthem. However, they attempted to score with shots from Dor Peretz and Eran Zahavi. Kosovo took the lead in the 41st minute with a brilliant strike from Rashica after a header by Vedat Muriqi. In the second half, the hosts tried to increase their lead but were denied by Israel goalkeeper Omri Glazer. Israel pushed for an equalizer but ended the game with 10 men after Roy Revivo was sent off in the 95th minute.
Israel coach Alon Hazan acknowledged the importance of the conflict but emphasized the team’s commitment to representing their country well. He expressed optimism about their chances to reach the finals and looked forward to the upcoming difficult game against Switzerland. Israel, aiming to reach their first Euros since 1994, will play their next two qualifiers in Hungary against Switzerland and Romania.
Romania currently tops the group with 16 points from eight games, followed by Switzerland with 15 points from seven matches. Kosovo, in fourth place, will visit Switzerland and host Belarus in their remaining qualifiers. The top two teams from each group will advance to the finals in Germany.
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