Eran Zahavi scored a superb equaliser as Israel fought back to draw 1-1 with Scotland in a dress rehearsal for their upcoming European Championship play-off.
Israel are Scotland’s opponents in the postponed play-offs – which take place in October – for next year’s tournament, which was pushed back to 2021 due to coronavirus.
In a twist of fate, they were drawn together in Nations League Group B2, and it looked as though Steve Clarke’s side would get their campaign off to a winning start thanks to Ryan Christie’s first-half penalty.
However, a stunning strike from Zahavi, who scored 11 goals in Israel’s Euro 2020 qualification campaign, secured a share of the spoils for the visitors at Hampden Park.
It took until the 42nd minute for the match to spark into life – Marshall making an excellent stop to deny Munas Dabbur from close range.
Yet Scotland struck first when John McGinn was adjudged to have been bundled over in the Israel area, with Christie drilling a fine finish into the left-hand corner.
7 – Ryan Christie has been directly involved in seven goals in his last seven starts for Scotland (2 goals, 5 assists). Opener. pic.twitter.com/6JrLy7sgV2
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 4, 2020
Christie’s persistence helped to create a chance for McGregor to double Scotland’s lead early in the second half, but the midfielder’s strike was blocked.
Eli Dasa’s wicked cross caused havoc for the home defence with just under 20 minutes remaining, but no Israel attacker was able to tuck it home.
Zahavi made no such mistake with Israel’s next opportunity, thumping a brilliant finish beyond Marshall on the half-volley to deny Scotland an edge ahead of next month’s crucial clash.
What does it mean? Another bump in the road for faltering Clarke
Scotland won their last three qualifying matches, claiming victories over San Marino, Cyprus and Kazakhstan. However, up against better opposition, Clarke’s side struggled to impose themselves and managed just two shots on target.
Christie’s magnificent seven
With his excellently taken opener from the spot, Celtic attacker Christie – who looked sharp in a front three on Friday – has now scored seven goals in his past seven starts for Scotland and was one bright spot for the hosts.
Tibi gifts Scotland
McGinn was hardly a danger when Israel’s Eytan Tibi decided to pull him back, but the centre-back’s recklessness gave referee Slavko Vincic a decision to make and handed Scotland the chance to go ahead.
Scotland face the Czech Republic in their next Nations League outing on Monday, while Israel are in action against Slovakia.