Hemed the hero as Israel hit six

By Danny Caro, October 14, 2012
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Tomer Hemed breathed life into Israel's World Cup qualifying campaign as manager Eli Guttman tasted victory for the first time.

The Mallorca striker fired a hat-trick as Israel thumped Luxembourg 6-0 in Group F.

A new-look Israel team finally found their shooting boots, with Hemed finding the target once in the first half and twice more in the second to complete his treble.

Further strikes from Maharan Radi, Eden Ben Basat and Maor Melikson completed the rout.

Having dropped captain Yossi Benayoun and experienced defender Tal Ben Haim, Israel made a dream start when Gal Alberman picked out Radi who produced a cool finish into the bottom corner from 12 yards after four minutes.

Brest striker Ben Basat doubled the lead eight minutes later when he converted a pass from Maor Melikson.

Hemed made it 3-0 in the 27th minute, turning home a cross from Yuval Spungin.

Israel did not let up in the second half, with Melikson tapping home from close range on the hour.

Hemed finished the job with two more goals in the final 17 minutes.

Luxembourg spurned a golden chance to grab a consolation 10 minutes from time when Israel's Dan Mori handled in the area, but Daniel da Mota fired over the bar from the penalty spot.

A relieved Guttman said: "We saw a real team effort tonight. This match could not have ended any other way. We were so ready for this match that even had they scored in the first minute we would have won.

“I’m not very pleased with the minutes in which the players were static, but overall we saw a team which knew what it was doing.

Israel will be looking to complete a quickfire double when they entertain Luxembourg at the National Stadium in Ramat Gan on Tuesday night.

Guttman added: “The win over Luxembourg gives us the confidence and the belief that we can do the same again on Tuesday. Luxembourg will be much better prepared in Israel.”

Hat-trick hero Tomer Hemed said: "We shouldn’t take this win for granted. We were really ready and knew that there was no way back from this match."

“This is an historic and emotional moment for me,” he added. “I’ve been waiting for this since I was a child.”

Israel keeper Dudu Awat commented: "This is a big win, but we are keeping our feet on the ground.”

    Last updated: 11:07am, October 14 2012