9 November 2017 – The Kosovo’s U21 National Team was defeated by Israel with 0:4 within the European Cup 2019 qualifiers in the match played at the “Adem Jashari” Olympic Stadium in Mitrovica in the presence of around 4.000 fans. The final score does not show the real force in the field as our players had much more from the game but suffered naive goals. Player of the match was certainly the Israeli goalkeeper, Omri Glazer (this was confirmed in the end by both coaches) who which his defence especially in the beginning of the match that made the match to have a totally different course from what both teams showed in the green field. Kosovo started the match very well and already in the first minutes, Florent Hasani and Bersant Celina had very good chances to score but the Israeli goalkeeper did not allow his goal to be defeated. Meanwhile, the guests managed to score for the first time they showed up in front of Bekaj’s goal through Nachmia (15’). Even after this goal, our players did not drift and approached the goal several times, but could not reach the guests’ net. On the other hand, the guests again punished us by a counterattack, this time in the 44th minute through Weissman. In the second half, the coach Rafet Prekazi made changes in the composition in an attempt to overturn the score. Despite the circulation of the ball and the created chances, they again missed the goal. Certainly, it was the goalkeeper’s fault who reacted miraculously in some cases. Subsequently, the third goal came from Israel team scored by Dasa (58 ‘), fading completely hopes for a return. Meanwhile, in the additional minutes when ours were trying to at least score the goal of honor, Cohen (90 + 2’) scored the fourth goal. Kosovo U21 will play the next match on Tuesday against Azerbaijan as a guest.
Declared after the match
Rafet Prekazi, Kosovo’s Selector: Really, our boys did not play worse than past matches but the result reflects something else. As a new national team, we created many actions and I think there is material here. The boys played well and committed themselves to maximum. Normally, the score 0: 4 should not allow the coach to say something more, because football is played for the result. However, we had the chances and did not use them, while with half actions they were able to take the lead of two goals. Realistically, based on the game, we had to go on a break by leading, but that is how football is. With this score, our players had to pay for the lack of experience. We are a new country and we need more matches, since other national teams have had continuity since the age of 15, while we hardly managed to build the team. I thank all the fans who were present and would like to make them happy with a win because they deserve it. However, football is such. The very fact that the best player of the match to the winning team was the goalkeeper proves that we had the chances and the game. Sadly, we could not reach the goal.
Enis Bytyqi: We had two clear chances in the first five minutes and if we could have scored once, then the course of the match would have been differently. They punished us in the first half in our part of the field and then things got harder. That is football. When you fail to score then you suffer a goal. Normally, this loss is painful, but there is no time for despair, because the match with Azerbaijan is waiting for us on Tuesday and we must correct the mistakes and rejoice a win. We have great confidence. We have a good team and we are functioning very well as a team. However, we were not lucky tonight.
Marko Babul, Israel’s Selector: Kosovo had many chances but I think our goalkeeper was the player of the game. We had a good transition from the defense to the attack and we managed to score, which made it easier for us to work. However, you have a good generation and as a new state you are, I think you have a bright future. Let me also thank your Federation for the extraordinary hospitality.