Date:Thursday October 16 2008
Kaspars Gorkss can hold his head up high after Latvia bounced back from defeat to pick up a valuable point against Israel in Riga.
It was the visitors Israel who took the advantage early in the second period as Yossi Benayoun struck home with aid of a deflection. The Liverpool winger fortuitous to strike home on the 50th minute for the opening goal.
Time was running out for Latvia, whose slim hopes of staying in contention for qualification were fading fast. The introduction of 20 year old Aleksandrs Cauna inspired hope in the home crowd. The former Chelsea and Fulham trialist proved his worth within moments of taking the field.
His clever pass, linked with former Crystal Palace man Andrejs Rubins who slotted the ball through to Vladimirs Koļesničenko. The forward did the rest to slot home from close range, sparking rapturous celebrations from the home crowd.
Some good initial pressure from Latvia culminated in several good chances, most notably for Deniss Ivanovs, a goal scorer for Latvia in their previous fixture. Yossi Benayoun nearly proved to be the difference between the two sides, as the Premier League quality began to show in an Israel side bolstered by Chelsea`s Tal Ben-Haim, and former QPR loanee Ben Sahar. Sahar however played second fiddle to a former R`s target in Omar Golem.
Kaspars Gorkss spoke exclusively to esports.lv following the result in Riga:
Is a draw good result?
We conceded a foolish goal - there were ricochets and what`s more our player slipped. We definitely didn't deserve to lose though.
The draw was the lease we deserved. In my opinion, all our guys played at a high level and there are no questions about our commitment. If we consider that until the end we were behind, a draw is a good result - Still I wished we`d won!
How hard was it to play against Israel`s forwards and especially Benayoun?
I think that Benayoun gave us the most problems. It was difficult to determine his position - he was everywhere where the ball was.
He is a player that can change everything himself, and he proved it as scored his goal.
What about the physical game? It seemed that you were pushed about...
Yes, I think so - in the second half I was jostled much. I don't know how it looked from different angles. Anyway, I haven't any complaints to referee.
Journalist Edmunds Novickis spoke exclusively to Vital QPR about the performance of Rangers defender Kaspars Gorkss:
"Gorkss again played all 90 minutes alongside Ivanovs. At the beginning Gorkss had a couple of misunderstandings with our goalkeeper Andris Vaņins but later no mistakes were made.
"The thing I liked most is that Kaspars very cleverly and with much quality started our attacks. Mostly defenders just hit powerful long-balls but Gorkss made sensible, bright passes. And almost all passes were precise and helped Latvia to progress good combinations.
"Defenders didn't have so much work as in previous matches with Greece and especially Switzerland they just hadn't chance to prove themselves."
Edmunds also ran the rule over opponents Israel with their vast Premier League talent:
"Benayoun was the best in Israel squad although sometimes he played too individually. From Premier League players such as Ben Haim played all 90 minutes but Ben Sahar went on as a substitute.
"There was one curious episode as well - Benayoun tried to get ball of the side line and lunged, he didn't get the ball but knocked down Latvian coach Aleksandrs Starkovs.
"Later in press conference Starkovs joked that overall referee was good but for that episode Benayoun surely should have received a yellow card."
In other international news Akos Buzsaky made a return in a Hungary shirt after an extended period on the sidelines.
He was introduced in the 70th minute as a substitute for PSV Eindhoven winger Balazs Dzsudzdak, as Hungary beat Malta away from home. Former Crystal Palace striker Sandor Torghelle struck the winner in the 23rd minute.
Damien Delaney was an unsued substitute as the Republic of Ireland beat a resilient Cyrpus at Croke Park. Liverpool striker Robbie Keane hit a fifth minute winner for Giovanni Trapattoni`s side.
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