Benayoun earns record 97th cap in Israel defeat


Alon Hazan believes the next Israel manager has plenty to build on following the 2-0 defeat in an international friendly against Croatia on Wednesday night.

Interim boss Hazan named a strong XI, as well as the recalled Yossi Benayoun on the bench for the match in Osijek.

Playing for the first time since the departure of Eli Guttman following a failed bid to reach Euro 2016, Israel succumbed to first-half strikes from Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic.

Both teams went on to hit the woodwork, with Benayoun introduced to proceedings in the 77th minute to win a record 97th cap.

Hazan said: “Of course you can’t be pleased when you lose, but if you examine the match there were quite a few reasons to enjoy the national team’s play against one of the best teams in Europe.

"We can be optimistic and I’m pleased with everyone that played."

Elisha Levy, Guy Luzon, Eli Ohana, Ran Ben-Shimon and Nir Klinger are being considered as Guttman’s long-term successor by the Israel Football Association.

Israel’s next competitive match sees them host Italy in the opening game of the World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign.

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