Guttman's Israel defeated in debut match
Israel 2 Ukraine 3
Israel were beaten 3-2 by the Ukraine in manager Eli Guttman's first match of the national team in in Petah Tikva.
Drawn in a tough group for the 2014 World Cup campaign, which gets under way in September, Guttman would have been disappointed with some defensive frailties in a match Israel always trailed.
The visitors led 2-0 at the break. Oleg Gusev opened the scoring from the penalty spot after 17 minute following after Rami Gershon brought down Andriy Yarmolenko in the area. The evening got worse for Israel as Yevhen Konoplyanka doubled the lead on the stroke of half time.
Guttman introduced substitutes Tomer Hemed and Ben Sahar at the start of the second half, and the pair gave the team a new dimension.
Hemed gave Israel a lifeline after 55 minutes, converting the second penalty of the match.
The Ukraine restored their two-goal advantage soon after when Yarmolenko fired home.
Sahar set up a grandstand finish after converting Israel's second with 27 minutes remaining but Israel were unable to score again to leave Guttman reflecting on a night when his defenders did not cover themselves in glory.
Guttman said: "I will be sleeping with the disc of this match for a long time to try and learn from our mistakes.
“We didn’t start the match well and couldn’t break the Ukrainians pressure, committing mistakes on defence.
“However, we were a different team in the second half. Some teams would have fallen apart at 3-1, but we maintained our discipline and weren’t far from equalising.”
Israel start their 2014 World Cup campaign with a trip to Azerbaijan on September 7.
Ahead of that, they have a friendly against Germany on June 1.
“I’m sure we will improve,” said Gutman confidently. “We have a two-week training camp in May and will play more friendlies before we begin our campaign.”