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10 Dec 2010
Japan, China, Iran and Bahrain go on to the quarterfinals!
Four teams had already gained their place in the Quarterfinal Stage of the II Asian Beach Games. Japan, China, Iran and Bahrain take the highest places in Groups C and D, and leave the rest of the contenders out of the race. Now, the matches among them will finally set who are the ones to top each table.
Japan will be able to fight Iran for the first place of the group after securing their way to the quarterfinals this morning. The Nippon, driven by the energetic Brazilian Rui Ramos, bended Lebanon (3-1) in a match that, although seemed absolutely under control, could have turned something else when the Lebanese got 2-1 by mid third period, thanks to a great volley by Fattal. Japan controlled their nerves, closed lines, and immediately replied with a third goal, by Uehara.
Time was not enough for Palestine to finish the comeback, and China (5-4) took advantage of his superiority during the first two periods to keep the points that put them on the quarterfinals stage. Both teams offered a great spectacle, with balanced forces, and keeping excitement till the end of the game. Everything seemed be on the right vein for China after getting to the first break 2-0 up, thanks to Yilihanmu’s doublet. But Palestine got fiercer in the second period, battling their opponent and opening their records to shorten the score twice, making it a tight 4-2 at the end of second period. The Palestinian wanted not to lose the Chinese trail, and although Han Yingnan achieved the 5-2, they kept on struggling. The reward to all this spirit, though, was not enough, since the two hits by Shbair could not knock China down. The Chinese, then, will face Bahrain to decide who the best in this Group D is.
Iran inflicted Thailand a severe punishment, in a match that has become the heaviest victory so far (14-2), and earned their place in the Quarterfinals. This way, the Iranians secure the first place of the group, and they are to face Japan next Sunday to see who is going to keep it in the last group stage Matchday. The Thai were unable to stop the Persian beach soccer stream and their huge punch, and see themselves out of any possibility to go on into the next round. Goals by Naderi (4), Ahmahzade (4), Boulokbashi (2), Dara, Abdollahi, Zarei and Mesigar, have been too much to deal with, and also become the best statement of the Iranian power.
Bahrain faced the challenge of not failing against Vietnam to get straight into the quarterfinals. And the Bahraini could not find a sweetest beginning to this enterprise, with Thani Aldoseri catching a ball and sending it in right after the kick off. It seemed that it was going to be easy for Silva’s lads, but Bui showed them that it was not to be so, and equalized the game some minutes afterwards, with a great goal. Soon, tough, Bahrain took control again with two goals before the first break.
The Vietnami were absolutely set to not to make any bed of roses Bahrain’s path to next round, and they made things really difficult for them. A hit exchange began in the second period, and, the game stepped into the third quarter with Bahrain 4-3 up. Vietnam fought to balance the score, and they got closer and closer every time. Finally, Kim Le made Bahraini nightmares true, and sent the match to the extra time. What the Arabic team thought to be almost done after first half had become a real complication, and they would need to be 100% concentrated not to end up without the points. Fortunately for them, that did not happen thanks to a free kick rocket by Ayoob worth two points. On the other side of the coin, spirited Vietnam team see themselves out of the race for the medals after a great display. But, this is what beach soccer is about: only one can win.
Match Day Four (11 December 2010)
Match 13 - 15:00 - Uzbekistan vs. Yemen
Match 14 - 16:15 - Indonesia vs. Syria
Match 15 - 17:30 - UAE vs. Qatar
Match 16 - 18:45 – Oman vs. Kuwait
Photo: Getty Images