Norway late show halts Israel
Israel captain Nir Biton slots home the opener. Photo: David Katz
UEFA EURO UNDER-21 CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS
ISRAEL 2 NORWAY 2
A stoppage time equaliser from Norway's Harmeet Singh denied Israel a first-ever win at the Uefa European under-21 finals as they were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw in Netanya on Wednesday night.
Israel rode their luck for long periods, with the visitors hitting the woodwork on three occasions. Home keeper Boris Kleyman was by far the busier keeper, and he pulled off some fine saves early on as the Israeli players showed signs of nerves.
Israel forged ahead after 15 minutes of the Group A opener when captain Nir Biton slotted home a penalty after a foul on Omri Ben Harush. Israel were fortunate to be awarded a corner and the ball found its way to Ben Harush who made the most of a challenge by Omar Elabdellaoui.
Norway deservedly drew level midway through the first half when the dangerous Marcus Pedersen produced a smart turn and shot into the bottom corner to silence the crowd.
Anders Konradssen came within inches of putting Norway in front six minutes later, but Kleyman was relieved to his his curling effort clip the top of the crossbar.
The post came to Israel's rescue just two minutes later as Jo Inge Berget fired goalwards with Kleyman beaten.
There was one final twist in the half as Vegar Hedensted was sent off after hauling down Mohammed Kalibut who was through on goal, with the striker booked for waving an imaginary card at the referee.
Israel struggled to make their numerical advantage count in the second half and it was Norway who went close again, with Konradsen denied by the post for the second time after 46 minutes.
Super-sub Alon Turgeman then produced a thumping finish to put Israel ahead for a second time, but Singh ensured Norway came away with the point deserved with a well-taken shot in the final seconds.
Israel faces Group A favourites Italy in Tel Aviv on Saturday followed by England in Jerusalem on Tuesday.