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22.03.2013 » Israel 3-3 Portugal. A late equaliser rescued the "Seleção" in Tel Aviv

Cristiano Ronaldo showing his despair and frustration in Israel 3-3 Portugal, for the FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifying stage

A 3-3 draw was the best result Portugal has been able to pull off from their trip to Israel, this Friday morning. The Portuguese side struggled to display their best version on the pitch and have never impressed much througout the entire game. Cristiano Ronaldo didn't score but assisted Hélder Postiga for his team's 2nd goal, just a few moments after he was shown a yellow card that will rule him out from next Tuesday's match, against Azerbaijan.

Portugal had a disappointing result and performance earlier this Friday, as they didn't get past a 3-3 draw in Israel, in another fixture for the 2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup qualifying stage. The two teams will continue tied with 8 points in Group F's 2nd place, at least until next Tuesday. The Portuguese goals were scored by Bruno Alves, Hélder Postiga and Fábio Coentrão, but the "Seleção" has never been able to impose the best of their game and were actually down by two goals with 20 minutes left to the end. The late reaction was initially fueled by a Cristiano Ronaldo run in the 72nd minute, from which Postiga only had to tap-in the ball to an empty net. Later in the game and already inside added time, Fábio Coentrão scored the equaliser that rescued a vital point for Portugal and their quest for the 2nd place in Group F. Apart from the result, the bad news for Portugal is that Ronaldo will miss next Tuesday's game against Azerbeijan, as he got shown a yellow card after kicking out the ball with the game already stopped.

Cristiano Ronaldo photos in Israel vs Portugal
Israel
3-3 Portugal goals and highlights:

Portugal couldn't have asked for a better start in Tel Aviv, since the opening goal arrived with only 2 minutes played in the game. Miguel Veloso took the corner kick on the right, curled the ball into Israel's box and Bruno Alves met the cross by heading the ball with conviction. Mallorca's goalkeeper Dudu Aouate, had no possible reaction for such a close range header and Portugal took the early lead in Ramat Gan. Unfortunately, the goal didn't seem to have inspired Paulo Bento's men to put on a great display and it would be Israel responding next...

The home side got the equaliser on the 24th minute, after a good run and cross on the right, that exposed some of this Portuguese defense weaknesses. The ball would end up falling in Tomer Hemed's feet and the Mallorca striker finished it with class, with a spinning shot that had no possible defense for Sporting's goalkeeper, Rui Patrício. All even at 1-1 and a clear feeling that this game was still far from being over at that point.

Things got worse for Paulo Bento's men still before half-time, as Israel would complete the comeback near the 40th minute of the first half. A bad pass deep inside the Portuguese half allowed for Israel to quickly counter and send Ben-Basat into a 1-on-1 goalscoring situation against Rui Patrício. The Toulouse forward showed no hesitation and blasted it into the net, making it 2-1 for Israel. The first signs of despair and frustration started coming off from the Portuguese players and it wouldn't become any easier for most of the remaining time in the second half.

Cristiano Ronaldo playing for Portugal, in 2013

Paulo Bento didn't make any changes during the half-time, but he surely knew something had to be done sooner or later, as he ordered three players to start warming up. As expected, Portugal went after the second goal immediatly after the referee whistled for the second half to begin, but the ineffectiveness of most of the attacking plays led to several wasted opportunities, one after another. It would be Israel reaching the third goal, this time from a corner kick, where once again it becomes hard to understand the passiveness shown from several of the Portuguese players. Natcho took the corner and Gershon jumped over Bruno Alves to head it past Rui Patrício and give Israel a two goals lead...

As if it couldn't get any worse, Cristiano Ronaldo kicked a ball in despair after the referee had already blown the whistle and was shown a yellow card. That incident didn't have much of an impact in this Friday's game itself, but since it's Ronaldo's second yellow card on this qualifying stage, it means that the Real Madrid striker will be ruled out for this Tuesday's game against Azerbaijan, to be played in Baku. According to the latest reports coming from the Portuguese media, Ronaldo will still travel to Azerbaijan for at least give some moral support to his teammates.

It took no longer than 2 minutes for Portugal to finally react and be effective, mostly thanks to a initiative from Cristiano Ronaldo. The 28-years old picked a nice direct pass from Vieirinha, who had just joined the game 10 minutes before, got rid of a defender using his speed and pace, and assisted Hélder Postiga for an easy empty net goal. We had finally seen a Portuguese attacking play gifted with a beginning and an end, as well as a small sample from what Ronaldo can do for this team when he gets well served.

There was still plenty of time for going after the 3-3, but we had to wait until the final moments of the game for the Portuguese players to find reasons to celebrate again. Benfica's midfielder Carlos Martins put in a cross into deep inside Israel's six-yards box and the giant Hugo Almeida managed to anticipate Dudu Aouate, heading the ball right into the crossbar. It would then bounce in front of a couple Israel defenders, who attempted to clear it away, but ended up shooting the ball against Fábio Coentrão, sending the ball backwards right into the back of the net. This final 3-3 draw might be crucial for the head-to-head fight for the 2nd place between Portugal and Israel, now that Russia will have a golden chance later this Saturday, to go 7 points clear their direct opposition.

Cristiano Ronaldo on the ground, fighting for the ball against two opponents from Israel, in 2013

Portugal line-up vs Israel:

Goalkeeper: Rui Patrício
Defenders: Fábio Coentrão, Pepe, Bruno Alves, João Pereira
Midfielders: Miguel Veloso, Raúl Meireles, João Moutinho
Attackers: Varela, Cristiano Ronaldo and Hélder Postiga

Match stats provided by www.ronaldo7.net
Israel
vs
Portugal
3
Goals
3
-
Shots
-
-
Shots on goal
-
-
Corner kicks
-
-
Fouls commited
-
-
Yellow cards
-
-
Red cards
-
-
Ball possession
-

Cristiano Ronaldo next game for Real Madrid will be against Real Zaragoza, on March 30, 2013, for the Spanish League. Even though he's ruled out from the game against Azerbaijan next Tuesday (March 26), Ronaldo will still travel with the Portuguese National Team to Baku. You can watch Juventus live stream, Azerbaijan vs Portugal, France vs Spain, Montenegro vs England and Mexico vs USA, all matches provided from our live soccer section.

Portugal next game:
Azerbaijan vs Portugal
kick-off time (26-03-2013):

Jakarta (Indonesia) | GMT+7: 00:00
Spain
(Madrid) | GMT+1: 18:00
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | GMT+0: 17:00
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | GMT-3: 14:00
New York (United States) | GMT-4: 13:00
Los Angeles (United States) | GMT-7: 10:00
Beijing (China) | GMT+8: 01:00

Sources: ronaldo7.net / itv.com / independent.co.uk / reuters.com

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrating Portugal goal against Israel, in Tel Aviv

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