Israel 2 Scotland 1: McLeish’s 10 men cough up first-half lead
Scotland were unable to hold on to a first-half lead as Israel registered their maiden victory in the Nations League.
Israel breathed life into their Nations League campaign with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over 10-man Scotland in Haifa on Thursday.
Dor Peretz and a Kieran Tierney own goal gave the home side a precious first victory in five matches that leaves all three teams level on three points in Group 1 of League C.
The match-turning moments came either side of John Souttar’s sending off for a second yellow as Alex McLeish was forced to endure a fifth defeat in seven since returning to Scotland’s top job in February.
Scotland had gone ahead through Charlie Mulgrew’s 25th-minute penalty, but they were second best for almost the entire contest and can have few complaints after squandering a chance to close in on promotion to the second tier.
The visitors almost fell behind for the first time when Peretz’s header deflected off Steven Naismith and drew a reaction save from Allan McGregor.
Frustrated at one end, midfielder Peretz was foolish at the other as his clumsy challenge on Naismith enabled Mulgrew to send Ariel Harush the wrong way from the spot.
McGregor was worked twice more as the half wore on and had his near post to thank for keeping out a close-range Ben Sahar shot.
Israel began the second half as they ended the first and were deservedly level seven minutes after the restart, Peretz atoning for his earlier error by capping off Taleb Tawatha’s incisive dribble and pass.
Scotland’s problems grew with Souttar’s dismissal for a second bookable offence just after the hour, although they were given a let-off as Tawatha inexplicably turned Eli Dasa’s cross against the bar at point-blank range.
But the intense pressure eventually told in the shape of a seemingly inevitable Israel winner in the 74th minute, Tierney slicing Beram Kayal’s dipping delivery into his own net.