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03 Jun 2018
Braga retain Euro Winners title
Heartbreak and ecstasy as penalties decide final
A devastating penalty shootout for Kristall sees Braga claim back to back Euro Winners Cup crowns
Here's how it all unfolded.
SC Braga vs BSC Kristall
It had been a long, hard journey to get to this point but only one team could walk away from this game with their dream realised…
The game didn't take long to accelerate to top speed. Although there were no goals in the first period both teams were doing their utmost to create chances whilst scrambling to defend any danger.
After the first period finished goalless, in the ninth minute of the second period Bernardo slotted in a tight angled shot to open the scoring for the Portuguese. But the reply from Kristall came quickly and they flashed one in, just a minute later. Then Braga went ahead again through Bokinha but again there was a reply from Kristall, as Mauricinho lashed in a loose ball, and the period finished at 2-2.
The contest remained just as tight into the third period where two more goals meant that normal time finished 3-3. Extra time just increased the tension between the sides but still neither team could break the deadlock and there was nothing else for it but to decide the winner with a penalty shootout.
Penalty after penalty was scored until the competition's MVP (Most Valuable Player) stepped up… Mauricinho placed the ball on the sand, took his run up…and blasted the shot over the bar, falling to his knees in despair. As Braga successfully netted their final penalty it was the Brazilian's slip up that decided the two, all but inseparable teams.
SC Braga were crowned Euro Winners Cup Champions for the second year running!
Prior to the day's main event, battles were fought for final finishing places in the position play-offs...
Nomme BSC Olybet vs FC Bate Borisov
Playing to decide who finished the competition in fifteenth and who finished sixteenth, Nomme BSC Olybet and FC Bate Borisov had one last chance to take away a valuable win from the Euro Winners Cup.
The Russian midfielder, Aksenov, has been in inspired form this tournament for FC Bate Borisov, and today he took a brace for himself, whilst his teammate Slautin grabbed a hat-trick.
The team from Belarus moved into the lead in the first period and as the goals kept flying in, the Estonians just couldn't keep up with the pace of the game and Borisov saw the contest out with a three-goal cushion.
Kreiss vs BSC Vybor
In the tussle for 13th position, the game between Kreiss (Latvia) and BSC Vybor (Ukraine) exploded into life with eight goals going in, just in the first period.
Vybor enjoyed the more generous share of the eight goals, ending the period with a 5-3 lead, including two goals from Zborovskyi. But the Latvians were only two goals behind and in such a high-scoring game, anything could happen.
When the second period finished, the Ukrainian team had their noses in front, with a 6-5 lead and Zborovskyi completing his hat-trick. But in the third they ran wild and reached a grand total of ten goals while Kreiss were unable to response. Vybor took up thirteenth place.
MFC Spartak vs Falfala Kfar Qassem
The best that MFC Spartak or Falfala Kfar Qassem could manage in the 2018 edition of the Euro Winners Cup was an eleventh-place finish. It was also the last chance to take a win before going home.
MFC Spartak opened the scoring but Llorenç equalised just before the break. The second period saw the Spanish forward smash three more past the bewildered Bulgarians who suddenly found themselves 4-1 down after leading for most of the first period.
In the third period, Llorenç made it five for him and his team, going on to claim three points and eleventh place, despite MFC Spartak pulling a goal back.
Happy Car Sambenedettese BS vs Dinamo Batumi
Happy Car suffered an extra time defeat to Sporting yesterday, and as a result they would battle against the Georgian side, Dinamo Batumi, to see who would occupy seventh place.
Happy Car managed to find the net twice in the first period through Franco, putting the Georgians on the back foot going into the second period. The goals came at a frequent and steady pace from this point on and the Italians accumulated a total of six, with Franco sealing a hat-trick and Alessandro a brace.
Dinamo Batumi managed a consolation goal in the third period but it made little difference to the outcome of the game, and the Italians took up their place in seventh position.
Sporting CP vs Alanyabelediye Spor
Following their dramatic victory in extra time yesterday, Sporting were looking to round off their 2018 Euro Winners Cup campaign with a win against Alanyabelediye, who had beaten Dinamo Batumi by five goals yesterday.
A fifth-place final position was the best that either team could hope for after being knocked out of the running, but the fixture had all the making of an entertaining contest. The first period didn't quite go according to Sporting's plan, as they finished it trailing by three goals to one.
But an incredible turnaround, assisted by a Jordan hat-trick, brought the game under Portuguese control, and the second period finished at 5-3. Sporting then had a comfort zone in which to enjoy themselves and take their tally up to an uncatchable seven goals, sealing their fifth-place finish.
BSC Lokomotiv vs KP Lodz
BSC Lokomotiv and KP Lodz both suffered heartbreaking defeats yesterday as they were knocked out in dramatic fashion by today's finalists. But now the common goal was ending the competition in third place and both teams would give it their all to get there.
The first period finished on level terms at one goal apiece. Going into the second, both teams scored again to make the score 2-2, but when Bryshtel doubled his account to complete a brace, Lokomotiv had to start chasing.
The Polish team then went two goals in front and with time running out fast, Lucao completed his own brace but it wasn't enough to stop KP Lodz defending well to seal an impressive third place finish.
For full results and standings click here.