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24 Mar 2015
First teams gain next round!
Oman, Japan, UAE and China secure quarterfinals at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2015 – AFC Qualifier Qatar. Last group stage day to decide the remaining four!
Uzbekistan comes up big in upset, but UAE is already qualified
The 6-5 win for Uzbekistan over UAE came down to finishing opportunities. The UAE were in the drivers’ seat for much of the match, controlling possession, shots, and rhythm, however Uzbekistan hung around and stayed close until they were able secure a hat-trick from Irismetov and close out the Emirati. The UAE will be disappointed in the loss but the one goal defeat sends them to next round, due to goal difference. Uzbeks and Iraqis will fight for the go-though In the final match in group play in Group C. Uzbekistan can advance as first place in the group if they can handle the Iraqi squad on Wednesday, and Iraq needs to win by more than two goals.
The UAE held a big lead in their opening match on Monday and nearly gave up the lead before sealing the victory, and the opening minutes against Uzbekistan showed how much they did not want to lose their intensity again. For all their energy, the White Wolves were fresh, playing in their first match of the tournament, and matched everything that the Emirati threw at them. The Uzbekistani squad began asking more and more questions of the UAE but going into the final minutes of the opening period, neither team had scored. With just over two minutes remaining in the frame, the Falcons precisely put the ball in the corner of the net, and took the 1-0 lead into the first break. Uzbekistan looked to be overpowered, but they held strong, utilized team defense and great goalkeeping to stay within striking distance and late in the middle frame they struck twice, taking their first lead of the match at 2-1. Two more late dramatic goals set the score at 3-2 for Uzbekistan going into the final frame.
Having controlled much of the opening periods, the UAE were frustrated and surprised to see themselves down by one goal as the final 12 minutes began, but they quickly remedied that. On the restart to open the period, the Emirati struck a shot off the frame of the goal and Ali Karim was there to pounce on the rebound, thus leveling the score at 3-3. The Uzbekistani confidence grew, especially after taking the lead, twice, but the Falcons stayed calm and kept with their game plan. The UAE controlled the tempo and did not panic but the deciding goal was not found in the opening minutes of the final frame. Midway through the frame, the composure showed as the Emirati slotted home two quick goals to push the score to 5-3. Untimely turnovers in their own half of the field led to the UAE giving up the lead, as Uzbekistan scored twice to knot things at 5. Uzbekistan was not finished there as they used great distribution and nice flicks to take the lead at 6-5 late in the match, which would be enough to hold off the Asian powerhouses and win by that same score.
Goals: 0-1: Ali. M, min. 2 (1); 1-1: Shaakmedov, min. 4 (2); 2-1: Irismetov, min. 3 (2); 2-2: M. Alzaabi, min. 0 (2): 3-2: Abdurazzekov, min. 0 (2); 3-3: Ali Karim, min. 11 (3); 3-4: Haitham, min. 6 (3); 3-5: Ali. M, min. 5 (3); 4-5: Kholmorodov, min. 5 (3); 5-5: Irismetov, min. 3 (3); 6-5: Iresmetov, min. 2 (3).
Oman explodes offensively in win
The 8-3 win for Oman over Laos was a stark difference to their opening match win vs Bahrain, which ended with Oman winning narrowly, 3-2. Defense was at a premium in this match as both sides could have scored plenty more, were it not for the goal posts and sound goalies. The Red Warriors built a large lead and had to hold off a furious comeback from Laos, before they finally used a penalty kick to put the score just out of reach for Laos. The win gives Oman 6 points in Group A and puts them at the top of the table going into their showdown against the hosts, Qatar, on Wednesday. Laos will next face Bahrain on Wednesday and they will be able to hang their hats on their opening match win and their determined play in this match, still with hopes of advancing to the knockout stages.
From the opening whistle, the teams were attacking and a spirited charge from Oman gave them the early lead on a high-motor play from Yahya to put the score at 1-0. Laos did not have many chances early on but they showed that they were very capable of scoring, in their opening match win against Qatar. The see-saw battle continued until the first break arrived and the score remained the same, 1-0 for Oman. The Red Warriors maintained the pressure but the Laotian defense and keeper were able to alleviate it, until Oman struck again, after a series of near misses and close calls, one finally struck the back of the net to double their advantage. The action intensified and Laos got their first real chance at goal, and capitalized, making the score 2-1 to Oman going into the heart of the period. The Omani side then charged ahead and took a seemingly commanding lead, at 6-1, after a number of opportunistic goals going in the second break.
Oman did not lay off the pedal and began battering the Laotian defense directly from the third period restart, but Laos held strong and did not cede any early goals. In fact, Laos scored the first two goals of the frame and started to foster the idea of a monstrous comeback. Halfway through the third period, the score was 6-3 for Oman. A late penalty kick was awarded to Oman and that connection sealed the Laotians fate in this match, making the distance to great to overcome. Oman added another late goal, getting the well-earned 8-3 win.
Goals: 0-1: Yahya, min. 10 (1); 0-2: Yahya, min. 9 (2): 1-2: N. Chiu, min. 8 (2); 1-3: Abdullah, min. 6 (2); 1-4: Hani, min. 4 (2); 1-5: B. Tona (o.g.), min. 1 (2); 1-6: Ghaith, min. 1 (2); 2-6: S. Nanthaly, min. 7 (3); 3-6: S. Nanthaly, min. 6 (3); 3-7: Mandhar, min. 3 (3); 3-8: Ghaith, min. 1 (3).
China wills themselves to victory
The 4-3 win for China over Kuwait was even more dramatic and entertaining than the final score indicates. The Chinese National Team want nothing more than to capitalize on their potential, and despite their opening match win, it was in penalties, they only earned one point. The Dragons got on the scoreboard first and then gave up lead, but regrouped and took the lead, for the last time, late in the match. The win gives China points in the group and will want to earn another three against Japan on Wednesday. The loss is the second devastating defeat in a row for Kuwait but they were in each match and could have won either. Kuwait will face Vietnam on Wednesday and hope for their first victory.
China was unable to start as quickly as they did on Monday, when they scored within two seconds, however they did score first, on a pinpoint strike off of a direct kick. Kuwait did have a quick answer, 20 seconds later to be exact, when they scored the equalizer on the foot of M. Bu-Abbas, putting the score at 1-1. The goal stoppers were more than earning their keep as both teams needed them to keep the score level and things were still knotted at 1 going into the first break. The defensive bravery and stalwartness made for an emotional and physical opening to the middle frame, but things did not open up for either side until A. Alsaif gave the Blue their first lead of the day, on a charging play where he refused to quit to put the score at 2-1 for Kuwait. China would not stand the deficit forever and in the periods’ final minute, they scored to level things at 2 going into the final period.
The Chinese opened the last 12 minutes with a sublime bicycle kick from Cai W M, to take back the lead, for the first time since the opening period. Kuwait did not look flustered but the time continued to tick away and the Dragons were nervously clutching that one goal lead. All that changed when the Kuwaiti squad erupted with emotion after scoring the equalizer. Things were tied at 3 going into the final minutes and both teams desperately wanted and needed a win in regulation. A long clearance in the final minutes appeared harmless but Cai W M used a creative flick header to put the ball in the back of the net, and it proved to be the winner as a tense final three minutes went by with no other goals. When the final buzzer sounded, China had prevailed 4-3.
Goals: 0-1: Wan Ch, min. 5 (1); 1-1: M. Bu-Abbas, min. 5 (1); 2-1: A. Alsaif, min. 6 (2); 2-2: Liu Y S, min. 0 (2); 2-3: Cai W M, min. 11 (3); 3-3: M. Hajiyah, min. 6 (3); 3-4: Cai W M, min. 3 (3).
Japan sweats out victory and moves to top of group
The 3-2 win for Japan over Vietnam was very exciting and was on a knifes’ edge in the waning minutes. It also showed how good a team Japan has, that they inched out a victory when they did not play their best. The match looked to be getting out of hand in the first minutes, but Vietnam calmed themselves and limited Japan’s opportunities, before showing their offensive ability in the final frame. Japan has six points through two games and will want to stay undefeated when they face China on Wednesday. Vietnam played close in their encounters but the loss eliminates them from qualifying for the World Cup, as Japan and China are now confirmed to go through in the group. Vietnam will next face Kuwait on Wednesday.
Japan had to hold off the feisty Kuwaiti side on Monday and Vietnam knew they had a chance to pester the Japanese as well, but the Nippon did their best to avert that danger and scored quickly, on a corner kick to bicycle that left the fans in awe. The entertainment continued when Ozu struck a nearly flawless direct kick to push the lead to 2-0 for Japan. The Fiery Reds saw the two-goal deficit and began bearing down on defense in hopes of limiting Japan’s chances, which worked until the final minute of the period when Akaguma used a nifty header to put the score at 3-0 for the Land of the Rising Sun going into the first break. The proceedings slowed as both teams were searching for a groove on offensive, but both teams were already in sync on defense and the period went goalless as the Golden Stars tried feverishly to get back into the match, but Japan stayed strong and kept the 3-0 lead going into the final frame.
Physical play picked up in the third period, as emotions were running high, especially for the Vietnamese, who did not want to see their World Cup hopes dashed. The goal drought did not last long into the 3rd period as Vietnam got on the board to frighten the Japanese. Japan knows how quickly a match can turn around so they began being more aggressive, wanting to make sure they did not leave the door for a Vietnam comeback. The open play did lead to more chances for the Fiery Reds, who all of sudden began capitalizing on, and midway through the final period, Vietnam clawed back to 3-2. The energy that it took Vietnam to climb back did not last and Japan finished the match strong and in control of the ball, holding on for the 3-2 win.
Goals: 0-1: Goto, min. 10 (1); 0-2: Ozu, min. 8 (1); 2-3: Akaguma, min. 1 (1); 1-3: L.N. Phuoc, min. 9 (3); 2-3: T.V. Phong, min. 6 (3).
Bahrain steady in defeating hosts
The 6-1 victory for Bahrain over Qatar was very methodical and precise as they never trailed and kept their edge and emotion throughout. Bahrain did not get too high emotionally or too low and it helped that things continued to go their way. The host nation made a late push when they netted their first, but Bahrain withstood and even added another insurance to make sure a rally would not successfully happen. The win gives Bahrain three points, their first victory of the tournament and it means that their match against Laos, who also has three points, will determine who goes through, along with Oman, in Group A, to the quarterfinals. Qatar will have a chance to get their first win of the week and delight the local fans against Oman on Wednesday.
The two sides had every possibility of advancing, with a win in regulation, and they began the match with a wait-and-see approach, which led to the first goal, from Bahrain. The early goal fueled the Bahraini side and they began looking like a team that was not ready to relinquish a goal, let alone the ball. Good goalkeeping kept both scrappy sides from scoring again and the period ended with Bahrain up 1-0. The hosts could not distinguish themselves as the favourites but neither could the visitors and the opportunities went unfulfilled in the second period until Rasheed doubled the lead for the Reds with the important assist from the goalie on a long distance distribution, the goal, which no defense could have stopped, put the Bahraini up 2-0, going into the middle of the match. The defense continued to play a prominent role but Bahrain drove through the Qatari defense one more time in the period, and held a 3-0 lead going into the third and final period.
Momentum stayed with Bahrain, and it was evident as they scored again, this time in the opening minute of the final frame, pushing the lead to 4 goals. The Maroons were down 4-0, but they did not stop pressing and saw some of their best chances on goal come, though they went unrequited. The open nature of the play lent itself to more goals and Bahrain did just that, making the score 5-0. Qatar found an answer on a rocket from their captain Jafal, but Rashed scored his third of the day for Bahrain to snuff out the hopes of an epic come from behind victory for the hosts. The third period ended with Bahrain holding on for the 6-1 triumph.
Goals: 1-0: Abdulla, min. 6 (1); 2-0: Rashed, min. 7 (2); 3-0: Jasim, min. 0 (2); 4-0: Rashed, min. 11 (3); 5-0: Abdulla, min. 7 (3); 5-1: Jafal, min. 6 (3); 6-1: Rashed, min. 6 (3).
Lebanon keeps hopes alive after overtime win
The 3-2 overtime win for Lebanon was so important that everyone in the stadium knew that a loss would have been a crushing blow. Lebanon began quicker than the Thais, and they were the aggressor but the War Elephants found their footing and responded to each Lebanese attack before the game dramatically went into overtime. The all-important goal came in overtime and leaves Lebanon with two points and they need Iran to defeat Thailand on Wednesday, if they hope to advance to the quarterfinals. Thailand fought brilliantly but never found themselves in front during the match and they will only advance to the quarterfinals if they can overcome Iran, in regular time on Wednesday.
Lebanon had a dream start to the match, scoring within two seconds, but at the same time, so did Thailand, as they scored on the restart. Six seconds had passed on the clock and two goals were already scored and the importance of this match could not be understated. The Cedars of Lebanon scored again quickly, taking the early 2-1 lead, while trying to solidify their defense. The shots continued but the goals slowed as the keepers adjusted to the break neck pace and dug their feet further in the sand, so to speak. The Lebanese side held the advantage on shots but the difference only reflected a one goal advantage when the first frame ended, with Lebanon up 2-1. The War Elephants used the second period to level the playing field and attack like Lebanon did in the opening frame. When the whistle sounded to end the middle frame, things were knotted at 2, due to an equalizer from Thailand’s Komkrit, his second of the day.
Challenges mounted and grew as the final 12 minutes began with both sides knowing they could win and could see the finish line. The energy from the crowd and the pumping music added to the intensity that the players were undoubtedly drawing upon. In particular, the goalkeepers were playing some of the best beach soccer from all week. Lebanon and Thailand both were running back and forth determined to find the game clinching goal, but going into the heart of the period, neither selection had found it. With tackles and shots flying, a goal was imminent but going into the last minutes, the close calls amassing, with no goal to show for them. After a flurry of late chances, the final period went scoreless and headed to overtime. The extra period was just as dramatic, with Lebanon going on top, this time for the last time, at 3-2 on a shot from M. Halawi only a minute in the frame.
Goals: 0-1: H. Fattal, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Komkrit, min. 11 (1); 1-2: H. Fattal, min. 10 (1); 2-2: Komkrit, min. 6 (2); 2-3: M. Halawi, min. 2 (et).
FIFA BEACH SOCCER WORLD CUP 2015 – AFC QUALIFIER QATAR
12:30 – Uzbekistan 6-5 UAE (Group C)
15:00 – Laos 3-8 Oman (Group A)
16:15 – Kuwait 3-4 China (Group B)
17:30 – Vietnam 2-3 Japan (Group B)
18:45 – Bahrain 6-1 Qatar (Group A)
20:00 – Thailand 2-3 (aet) Lebanon (Group D)
12:30 – Uzbekistan vs. Iraq (Group C)
13:45 – Vietnam vs. Kuwait (Group B)
15:00 – Bahrain vs. Laos (Group A)
17:30 – Japan vs. China (Group B)
18:45 – Qatar vs. Oman (Group A)
20:00 – Iran vs. Thailand (Group D)