The visitors, who beat Croatia on Saturday, were worthy opponents for an Israel side who came into the game on the back of their dramatic last-gasp win over Russia.

But despite long periods of pressure in the second half, they could not find a response to Barda's goal after 35 minutes.

The first half was undistinguished with both sides seemingly content to knock the ball around with little penetration from either attack.

Israel's Maor Bar Buzaglo tested visiting keeper Petar Milosevski from 20 yards as did Velice Sumulikoski at the other end.

Macedonia were certainly holding their own, however, and had the next chance when Aco Stojkov wriggled past Tal Ben-Haim only to drag his shot wide of the right-hand upright.

The game was crying out for a goal and it arrived 10 minutes before the break.

Full-back Yuval Spungin took a throw-in on the right and was on hand to receive a clever backheel return from Barach Yitzhaki. Spungin then burst to the by-line before chipping in a cross which was perfect for Barda to latch on to and power a header past Milosevski.

Darko Tasevski threatened an equaliser with a shot which flew over the bar shortly before the interval.

And the visitors continued to press at the start of the second half with Vlatko Grozdanovski shooting wide from the edge of the box.

Israel were playing primarily on the break but it was a policy which almost paid dividends with 20 minutes to go, substitute Ben Sahar seeing a shot smothered by Milosevski.

Sumulikoski and Barda traded efforts while Sahar saw another shot kept out by Milosevski.

Macedonia were denied a late equaliser when Slavco Georgievski's goalbound header was directed over his own bar by defender Dekel Keinan.