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07 Sep 2018
Another late winner sees Azzurri defeat defending champions on day two
Second day of Superfinal sees Russia have title defending hopes dented by Marinai winner while Portugal and Spain continue winning ways
Italy are making a habit of leaving it late to win their games – not that the full stadium and the crowd overflowing outside seem to mind! The Azzurri are now in a very strong position going into the final group game tomorrow, while Russia are at the mercy of Ukraine if they are to have any hopes of retaining their European title.
As well as sealing their second win in as many days, Italy, Portugal and Spain have each now qualified for the European Games Minsk 2019! Who will follow them tomorrow?
Let's review the day's action, starting with the hosts' battle against the defending champions...
Italy v Russia
Russia opened their title-defending crusade with an impressive 6-0 defeat of Ukraine yesterday, and they were straight back in the goal-scoring groove today when Shishin got the game started by slotting in the first.
But Italy too had tasted victory, when Ramacciotti scrambled in a last minute winner, and he was the one to respond to Russia’s goal with a well-taken equaliser two minutes before the first whistle sounded.
Gori then pulled off an awesome bicycle kick to put the Azzurri ahead early in the second stage, and the crowd went crazy! But they weren’t ahead for long as Zemskov brought Russia back on level terms.
Before the second period was over, Novikov and Krash also found the back of the net from close range, giving Mikhail Likhachev’s side a two-goal advantage. Then, with three second to go Ramacciotti grabbed a second as he nodded in a long ball from his keeper.
The final period started at 3-4 with everything still up for grabs. Russia extended their lead when Paporotnyi scored but another incredible Gori bicycle kick reduced the difference to just one, which Zurlo then cancelled out with a low shot on the turn.
All square after the final period, it was extra time that would separate the teams. The decider came from Simone Marinai who managed to get the slightest of touches on a low cross to see the ball roll over the line, grabbing two points in the last minute.
The crowd filed out of the stadium ecstatic with the result and with the chance to see their team be crowned champions of Europe not too far out of sight, they won’t miss tomorrow’s match against Ukraine.
Goals: 0-1: Shishin, min. 4 (1); 1-1: Ramacciotti, min. 2 (1); 2-1: Gori, min. 11 (2); 2-2: Zemskov, min. 9 (2); 2-3: Novikov, min. 5 (2); 2-4: Krash, min. 1 (2); 3-4: Ramacciotti, min. 0 (2); 3-5: Paporotnyi, min. 11 (3); 4-5: Gori, min. 8 (3); 5-5: Zurlo, min. 6 (3); 6-5: Marinai, min. 1 (ET);
Portugal v Azerbaijan
Mario Narcisso’s men fought off a tough Swiss side yesterday to start the campaign by taking three points. Azerbaijan had missed out narrowly to Spain by a single goal.
Portugal went in hard in the first period to establish immediate dominance but the breakthrough goal didn’t come until the eighth minute, when a deflected shot granted them a bit of fourtune to go ahead at the expense of the Azerbaijani number nine, Abdul, who would claim the own goal. Coimbra then drove in a penalty to double the lead.
The number two then scored his second, diving to poke home a loose ball before the keeper could grab it. In the second period, Portugal ran riot and the goals flew in. Jordan scored with just two minutes gone, then Bruno Torres converted from the spot.
Madjer netted his first of the tournament and Leo Martins finished the period by getting his name on the scoresheet too. It was 7-0 as the final period started and Azerbaijan had a mountain to climb if they were getting anything out of this fixture…
They created little by way of goal-scoring chances, although the Portuguese keeper, Andrade, was occasionally called into action. Belchior added an eighth half way through the final period, and then a ninth in the dying minutes.
With two decisive wins against some heavy-weight opposition, Portugal could be forgiven for being confident of a place in the Supefinal on Sunday…
Goals: 1-0: Abdul (OG), min. 6 (1); 2-0: Coimbra, min. 4 (1); 3-0: Coimbra, min. 3 (1); 4-0: Jordan, min. 10 (2); 5-0: Bruno Torres, min. 8 (2); 6-0: Madjer, min. 7 (2); 7-0: Leo Martins, min. 2 (2); 8-0: Belchior, min. 6 (3); 9-0: Belchior, min. 1 (3);
Belarus v Ukraine
As both teams failed to pick up any points yesterday, today’s match between Belarus and Ukraine was a must win in order to have any hope of Superfinal qualification.
It was clear to see from the very start of the game that neither team wanted to put a foot wrong. With the stakes so high, the play was slow, reserved and although there were chances created and the goalkeepers had to be on their toes, the first goal eluded play for over half of the game… not a common occurrence in this sport!
As the second period was drawing to a close the match was still goalless, but there was a difference in play as some fine saves started to be required for the teams to stay level-pegging, and the tempo of play gradually increased.
The breakthrough finally came with just minutes before the second whistle, when Pachev drove home a low shot from a freekick. As much as Belarus tried to find an equaliser they just couldn’t break through the solid lines of the Ukrainian defence.
Nico Alvarado’s men piled on the pressure as the remaining minutes ticked away into seconds, and tensions rose. When all seemed lost, Bryshtel struck a fine freekick which rippled the back of the net with just 20 seconds remaining.
The captain had forced extra time and in an incredible turnaround, Bokach poked in a second goal for Belarus following some confusion in the penalty area. Ukraine missed the opportunity to level up again when Zborovskyi smashed a penalty against the post and the two points went to Belarus.
Goals: 0-1: Pachev, min. 3 (2); 1-1: Bryshtel, min. 0 (3); 2-1: Bokach, min. 2 (ET);
Spain v Switzerland
Switzerland needed to make amends for their slip up yesterday against Portugal by winning against Spain on day two. But Alonso’s men were undefeated in the league and wouldn’t be easy to get past. There was a lot at stake in this fixture…
Stankovic wasted no time in putting his mark on the game and Spain found themselves a goal behind within a minute, when the big number nine smashed in an early goal. But his opposite number could go one better, as Eduard put away a stunning overhead from the half way line, which had even the opposing fans clapping, to equalise.
The second period began with the teams on level terms but a golazo from Antonio nudged the Spaniards in front. But that man Stankovic struck again to make it two apiece.
Moments later, he drove in an acrobatic overhead to complete his hat-trick and put the Swiss ahead once more. The match was a thrilling one to watch, with the posts and crossbars being rattled regularly and some of the saves of the tournament keeping each team in the match.
At 3-3 in the final stages of the match, it looked like the game would go to extra time. However, after having a quiet opening to his time in Sardinia, Llorenç really chose his time to spring into action and grab the winner with just a minute to go, when he spotted the Swiss keeper off his line, securing three points.
Switzerland are out of the title race, while Spain made it two wins out of two in Alghero and at the same time, secured a place in the European Games in Minsk.
Goals: 0-1: Stankovic, min. 10 (1); 1-1: Eduard, min. 5 (1); 2-1: Antonio, min. 7 (2); 2-2: Stankovic, min. 2 (2); 2-3: Stankovic, min. 2 (2); 3-3: Antonio, min. 4 (3); 4-3: Llorenç, min. 1 (3);
Bulgaria v Norway
Neither side had managed to take any points from yesterday’s games and so today was a must-win if they wanted to maintain any outside chance of promotion to Division A.
The Norwegians started the game the stronger of the two teams and an early barrage of attacks and a shot from the number nine, Henrick Salveson saw the net ripple for the first time. The attacks kept coming and the Bulgarians did well to keep the score at just 1-0.
But then, one of the cheekiest goals you’ll see all weekend, saw Tsvetkov side foot a curled shot straight into the goal – directly from a corner! They may have taken a while to wake up but Bulgaria suddenly looked dangerous for the first time and when Filipov drove a low shot in to take the lead just before the first period, the tables were turned.
Salveson equalised with just three seconds of the second period gone and the teams were tied again, until Adamov found the net to retake the lead and Bulgaria ended the second period the same way the ended the first, with a one-goal advantage.
Martinov was granted enough space in the middle of the pitch to compose a shot which found its target to extend the lead to 4-2 for Hristov’s side. Norway’s Jallard scored from a set piece but immediately after, so did Filipov and the gap was widened once more.
With just seconds of the match left, Li turned in from close range, but Norway ran out of time and now cannot qualify for the Promotion Final.
Goals: 0-1: Salve, min. 10 (1); 1-1: Tsvetkov, min. 5 (1); 2-1: Filipov, min. 2 (1); 3-2: Salve, min. 11 (2); 3-2: Adamov, min. 5 (2); 4-2: Martinov, min. 10 (3); 4-3: Jallard, min. 4 (3); 5-3: Filipov, min. 2 (3); 5-4: Li, min. 0 (3);
Kazakhstan v Moldova
If Moldova wanted to keep any hopes of promotion alive, then a win today was essential. Kazakhstan had seen off Hungary yesterday and started the game by creating promising chances.
But they couldn’t find an opener and as the first period drew on, shots flew high and wide for both sides. The match was goalless going into the second period. Towards the end of the second period, Muralinov finally scored to snatch the lead for Kazakhstan and then Makagon pounced on a sloppy backpass to take a second.
But with just one minute of the period to go Moldova pulled one back through Cojocari and the period finished with Jamantayev’s side leading by two goals to one. Moldova were not done yet, as they restarted the match strongly and Ignat created some space to drive a low shot home and level the game up.
With the scores equal, and time running out, it looked like extra time or even penalties might have to separate the sides, but the goalkeeper and captain, Chornyy, had other ideas, as he sent a missile the length of the pitch to edge Kazakhstan ahead.
This seemed to open the flood gates, and the Kazakhs then scored three more in just two minutes as Muralinov completed his brace.
Three minutes before the final whistle the teams had been tied at 2-2 but in the end, it was a decisive victory for Kazakhstan whose unbeaten run continues and are a definite favourite for promotion, whilst Moldova will have to wait until next year.
Goals: 1-0: Muralinov, min. 3 (2); 2-0: Makagon, min. 3 (2); 2-1: Cojocari, min. 1 (2); 2-2: Ignat, min. 10 (3); 3-2: Chornyy, min. 3 (3); 4-2: Muralinov, min. 3 (3); 5-2: Yeraly, min. 0 (3); 6-2: Tyulpa, min. 0 (3);
England v Romania
It was a must-win game for England today after dropping a point yesterday by being taken to extra time by Norway. Mark Mitchell’s men drew first blood as Scott Lawson fired in a volley to make it 1-0.
Romania created chances of their own, such as when Boata smashed a shot off the crossbar but the first period ended with England enjoying a slender lead. It didn’t take long for captain Clarke to get his name on the scoresheet as a few minutes into the second period he converted a freekick to make it two. England were heading in the right direction to maintain their unbeaten streak in the league, as Kazakhstan has done earlier.
However, Tase pulled one back for Romania a few minutes later and they went into the final period trailing by a single goal. The pressure built in the final period as time was running out.
England did well to repel dangerous Romanian offensives and Boata was frantically looking to complete his brace and bring his team level. But the equaliser came in the form of the goalkeeper who fired in a shot from distance to take the match to extra time.
It was that man Scott Lawson again who found the net with a close-range header thinking that he’d won it for his team. Romania had other ideas though, and Tase completed a brace of his own to take the game to penalties.
The Romanian captain, Maci, hit the bar with his side’s first penalty and his side trailed until the England captain, Aaron Clarke, missed his too. The match was finally decided when Tase, after scoring twice to save his team, saw his spotkick saved and England walked away with a hard-fought point.
Goals: 1-0: Lawson, min. 7 (1); 2-0: Clarke, min. 9 (2); 2-1: Tase, min. 6 (2); 2-2: Andrei Paul, min. 4 (3); 3-2: Lawson, min. 2 (ET); 3-3: Tase, min. 1 (ET);
PSO: 0-0: Maci, missed; 1-0: Maxwell, scored; 1-1: Alin, scored; 2-1: Morris, scored; 2-2: Boata, scored; 2-2: Clarke, saved; 2-2: Tase, saved; 3-2: O’Rourke, scored;
Germany v Hungary
Germany had made a good start to their campaign to play Division A beach soccer next year with a win against Moldova yesterday and the kicked off this fixture in similar fashion as Basiel added to his goal from the previous game to open the scoring.
Biermann then doubled the advantage and going into the second period Matteo Marrucci’s men were comfortably ahead. Basiel was just getting started though…
In the second period the German number 14 scored twice more to complete his hat-trick and take his tournament tally to four. With a four-goal lead Germany were running away with the game and even when Menyhei scored against the run of play to pull one back, it didn’t stop the flow of goals going the other way.
The captain, Weirauch, scored a sublime strike to add a fifth before the last break and then Korner made it six. The minutes were slipping away and it was clear to see that Germany weren’t ready to give up their spot in the top flight just yet. To polish the game off, Schmitt added a seventh, and Hungary were well beaten.
They will play Moldova tomorrow to see who will finish their group in third position and a final chance at points in Alghero, while Germany are on course to reach the Promotion Final on Sunday.
Goals: 1-0: Basiel, min. 8 (1); 2-0: Biermann, min. 4 (1); 3-0: Basiel, min. 8 (2); 4-0: Basiel, min. 6 (2); 4-1: Menyhei, min. 5 (2); 5-1: Weirauch, min. 8 (3); 6-1: Korner, min. 8 (3); 7-1: Schmitt, min. 1 (3);