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Badier sparks Israeli elation

Wednesday, 30 March 2005

By Ofer Ronen-Abels at Ramat Gan stadium

[1] Walid Badier's late equaliser earned Israel a draw against France, who played the final 35 minutes with ten men following the dismissal of David Trezeguet soon after the striker had given his side the lead.

Misfiring France

[2] Abbass Swan's 90th-minute goal had rescued Israel from defeat against the Republic of Ireland on Saturday, and for the second time in two FIFA World Cup qualifying Group 4 matches Israel left it late to salvage a point, further frustrating France in the process. The result leaves France and Israel as joint leaders on ten points, but the biggest winners were Ireland and Switzerland, both a point back but with a game in hand. All four teams are unbeaten.

Henry substitute

[3] Avraham Grant made three changes to the team which drew with Ireland, with Klimi Saban, Avi Nimni and Pini Balili all called in as the coach opted for a containing 4-5-1 formation. France coach Raymond Domenech was only able to name Thierry Henry among his substitutes as the striker continued to struggle with a calf problem, so Sylvain Wiltord partnered Trezeguet.

France pressure

[4] France controlled early on without really threatening. On 29 minutes, Trezeguet pounced on Adoram Keisi's attempted clearance and flashed a shot beyond Dudu Awat but just wide. But as against Switzerland in the goalless draw at the Stade de France on Saturday, Domenech's side were failing to take their chances, and Awat turned away Wiltord's powerful volley six minutes before half-time.

Trezeguet goal

[5] The breakthrough finally came five minutes into the second half. Wiltord was again involved, this time crossing from the right for Trezeguet to head in. After a stuttering start to their qualifying campaign, France's relief was evident, but only five minutes later Trezeguet let slip his side's hold on the game when he reacted angrily to a challenge by Tal Ben Haim and was shown a straight red card.

Badier leveller

[6] Israel began to press and on 77 minutes Fabien Barthez pulled off the save of the night when he palmed Nimni's close-range shot over, and from the resulting corner Omri Afek headed on to the crossbar. France finally conceded a goal for the first time in qualifying with seven minutes to play when Badier ghosted in unmarked at the far post to head in and send the Ramat Gan stadium into a frenzy again.

Walid Badier celebrates Israel's equaliser