Ben Chaim boosts Israel
Tal Ben Chaim stepped off the bench to fire Israel to a narrow victory over Georgia in Tel Aviv.
Last Updated: 29/03/11 8:46pm
Tal Ben Chaim stepped off the bench to fire Israel to a narrow victory over Georgia in their Euro 2012 Group F qualifier in Tel Aviv.
The substitute striker, who plays for Maccabi Petah Tiva, had only been introduced into the action in the 53rd minute before he fired home the only goal of the game six minutes later with a low shot from inside the area.
It secured back-to-back victories for the home side and they are up to third in the standings, one point behind leaders Greece, who still boast a game in hand.
Maor Buzaglo had an early effort blocked by Genoa defender Kakha Kaladze, before Lior Rafaelov headed Portsmouth defender Tal Ben Haim's cross side.
Buzaglo should have done better from 12 yards but his weak shot was comfortably caught by Georgia goalkeeper Nukri Revishvili.
His opposite number, Dudu Aouate, was called into action after 16 minutes when he turned Alexander Amisulashvili's header from a Zurab Khizanishvili free-kick round the post.
Israel were handed a good chance just before the half-hour mark when Akaki Khubutia fouled Elyaniv Barda 20 yards from goal but Rafaelov sent his free-kick against the wall.
The Maccabi Haifa man did better 10 minutes before the break when he drilled effort from just outside the box was held by Revishvili.
When Rafaelov won a free-kick four minutes later, he handed responsibility to Bibras Natkho, who fired over from 25 yards.
Georgia had their chances after the restart, with Jaba Kankava and Otar Martsvaladze failing to test Aouate, while Dani Bondarv and Buzaglo were equally wasteful at the other end.
But Buzaglo made amends as he played in Ben Chaim, who had replaced Natkho moments earlier, to finish from 12 yards for the opener.
More chances followed for the hosts, with Almog Cohen firing over and Kaladze throwing himself in front of an effort from Elyaniv Barda.
Georgia could muster little except a clutch of long-range strikes, and they could have slipped further behind a minute from time, but Revishvili saved Buzaglo's 12-yard shot.