Team Israel defeats Turkey to claim first win in IFAF European Championship qualification

Team Israel defeated Turkey 27-22 Thursday in Samsun, Turkey in first round action of the IFAF 2020 European Championship Group B qualification tournament.

The Israelis took a 19-6 lead only to watch as Turkey close the gap in the second half forcing Israel had to hold on for the win.

Quarterback Matt Kauffman completed 12 of 16 passes for 188 yards and a score, as well as running in a touchdown himself to lead the offense. However, it was the defense that set the tone for the day with four interceptions, including Shachar Regev’s game-clinching pick with 18 seconds left to play.

New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, one of the sponsors of the team alongside Minnesota Vikings Mark Wilf and Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker, called to congratulate the team on their historic victory, wishing them ‘Mazel tov’ and stating ‘Am Yisrael Chai’.

Israel will host Belgium at the Kraft Family Sports Campus in Jerusalem on October 6 and next summer/fall will face Spain and Hungary in the Group B round, as they look to advance to Group

Coach Jay Hoffman told his team:

‘’This is a great victory in a hostile environment, and it comes off of a team effort. Enjoy the next 48 hours, but come Sunday we have work to do to get ready for Belgium’’. As the two teams took the traditional joint picture (attached), Coach Hoffman also stated that ‘’it is beautiful to see the camaraderie between the Israeli and Turkish players. The power of sports is to bring people together’’.

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