STA, 10 September 2019 - The Slovenian national football team scored a third win in a row in the qualifiers for the 2020 Euro by defeating Israel at home on Monday evening 3:2 to advance to second place in Group G behind the leading Poland.
After beating Latvia on the road in June and defeating Poland in Stožice Stadium on Friday 2:0, Slovenia followed it up with a come-from-behind win against Israel to leapfrog Austria in the standings.
Playing in front of the home crowd of almost 11,000, Slovenia were first to score, as Josip Iličić assisted for Benjamin Verbič for a goal in the 43rd minute.
Israel turned the things around in the second half with goals in the 50th and 63rd minute, but Slovenia responded quickly, with Roman Bezjak equalising the score to 2:0 in the 66th minute off an assist from Andraž Šporar.
It seemed that Israel will walk off with a draw from Ljubljana, but Verbič scored with a header in the last minute of regulation to bring the much important win for Slovenia, keeping the team in contention for the final tournament.
"It was the character that won the match, the heart of the team, because you could tell that we were exhausted," Verbič said after the win.
Slovenia's head coach Matjaž Kek, who celebrated his 58th birthday yesterday, congratulated the players for the second win in four days. "Unbelievable game! I love jazz, but this was true rock and roll. It all turned out well at the end."
Israel head Andreas Herzog said that "we played a good match, showed good energy, but wasted the points by making mistakes. We played against a very good team, which had beaten Poland."
Slovenia will have a one-month break before the qualifiers continue on 10 October against North Macedonia on the road and against Austria at home on 13 October. The qualifying stage will conclude in November with the last two rounds.