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Match Analysis: Israel 1-1 Northern Ireland

Sports Mole analyses the outcome of the World Cup qualifying clash between Israel and Northern Ireland.

Israel and Northern Ireland played out a 1-1 draw in their final World Cup qualifying game in Tel Aviv.

The home side took the lead in the first half when Eden Ben Basat headed home in the 43rd minute of the game.

However, Michael O'Neill's side drew level after the break when Steven Davis found the net to earn his team a point.

Here, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look to see if the result was a fair one.

Match statistics:

Israel:
Shots 8
On target 5
Possession 56%
Corners 6
Fouls 8

Northern Ireland:
Shots 7
On target 2
Possession 46%
Corners 4
Fouls 10

Was the result fair?

Yes. Neither side deserved to win the game but both enjoyed spells of dominance in each half when they both found then net. Israel upped the ante towards the end of the first half and duly took the lead through Ben Basat after pounding the visitors' goal for about five minutes, while Ireland in the second half put the hosts under a similar siege and got theirs. A point was definitely the fair outcome.

Israel's performance

Eli Guttman's side were solid in defence in the first half but struggled to piece together any attacking momentum. They finally got their act together with about five minutes left in the half and peppered Roy Carroll's net until Ben Basat got the breakthrough. In the second half the whole team fell flat and allowed the Irish into the game and were ultimately the architects of their own downfall as they gave Davis too many opportunities to pick his spot with a couple of efforts before he finally struck. An inconsistent display from the hosts.

Northern Ireland's performance

O'Neill's side were out of the game in the first half as they couldn't get anything going and were at the mercy of Israel's prowess in front of goal as to how many goals they could concede. The defence put their bodies on the line, going in at the break only one behind and seemed to take heart from that as they produced a fine second-half display to earn a point. They were far the more dangerous team after the break and could have won the game late on had Martin Paterson been able to put the ball past Dudu Aouate with a volleyed effort. Considering their last two games, O'Neill will be pleased with what he witnessed.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Steven Davis: The midfielder produced a tireless display for his side as he appeared to cover every blade of grass. The skipper got the goal that got his side level with a fine strike from the edge of the area but he could have scored before that if not for an excellent block. He was just as good defensively as he always tracked back and was one of the several players to put their body on the line to get crucial blocks in at the end of the first half when Israel dominated. A fine performance.

Biggest gaffe

Defender Rory McArdle almost handed Israel a goal late in the first half when he headed the ball past Roy Carroll and got back to clear the ball straight to Ben Basat. The striker shot at goal immediately but McArdle's blushes were spared by an excellent block by his central defensive partner Craig Cathcart.

Referee performance

Laurent Duhamel had a quiet game and was not called on to make any big decisions. He handed out just yellow cards to Cathcart and Yeini for bad challenges on Corry Evans and Ben Basat.

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Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill on the touchline during the World Cup qualifier against Portugal on September 6, 2013
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Live Commentary: Israel 1-1 N. Ireland - as it happened
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