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09 Nov 2018
Brazil’s 66-game winning streak ends as Russia join Iran in final
Two previous winners will come together in the final as Iran and Russia win in the semis
Defending champions of the Huawei Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup, world champions, unbeaten in years… Today saw Brazil’s incredible winning run of 66 games come to an agonising end after a penalty shootout against Russia.
The USA also made history in Dubai as they secured their best ever finish, after beating hosts, UAE, to make it into the 5th place play-offs.
But first, you should know exactly what happened between Brazil and Russia…
Brazil v Russia
The final match of day four would decide which of these teams, each with three Intercontinental Cup titles, would be in with a chance to make that number four in tomorrow’s final.
As expected the match started as a close affair. With so much at stake neither side wanted to blink first. But a blink did come, and it was Brazilian as Makarov rose to volley an overhead and snatch the lead, half way through first period.
Russia took the lead in style, but Brazil did their best to get back on level terms before the first whistle blew. But Mikael Likhachev’s men fought hard to hang on to the lead and going into the second period doubled that lead when an equally impressive bicycle kick from Nikonorov found its target.
As the match neared the halfway point, the 66-game winning streak looked more and more fragile…
When Paporotnyi found space to pound home a third, Brazil were in real trouble and needed to come up with something to turn this game around as the second whistle got closer.
There was a real sense of urgency in the way that Gilberto’s men began to play, not a style, or a situation, that they are often in, but the Russian keeper made save after save, assisted by the fact that desperation appeared to be affecting the Brazilian strikers’ accuracy.
The second whistle blew with the men in yellow trailing by three goals to Russia… not a position any beach soccer team wants to be in.
With just 30 seconds of the final period gone, Bruno Xavier stepped up to cut the deficit to just two once more, netting a long distance free-kick which took a fortunate bobble to fly over the outstretched Russian keeper.
But just as it seemed that the Russians might have let the world champions in, Paporotnyi won a free-kick of his own, which was dangerously in range. Completing his brace, the number ten placed the ball inside the post to reclaim a three-goal advantage for Russia.
Half way through the period the Brazilian captain repeated the trickery, watching the ball bounce over the diving keeper once again. Brazil weren’t finished yet but they had a lot to do in not a lot of time. Datinha brought the game to 3-4 from yet another Brazilian free-kick and suddenly the Russians were starting to crack.
Then, out of nowhere, Rodrigo ran into space and struck low into the corner to force extra time! The comeback was complete. Brazil had found their rhythm, and every time they moved forward they looked dangerous. Rodrigo struck again in the first minute of extra time and, with the score at 5-4 and just 2 minutes left, they thought they’d won it. But one final twist saw Nikonorov bicycle kick an equaliser with just seconds to go.
Time ran out, and this game would be decided on penalties….
First Krash blasted his penalty past Mao, then Igor followed suit with equal vigour. At one apiece, Shishin stepped forward and with a calm finish, nudged the Russians ahead. Then Filipe took the ball, placed it on the sand, took a run up and… shot wide of the target. The Russians went wild both on and off the pitch.
All it took was Makarov, having scored once already, to score to win the game and take Russia to the final. He did exactly that, and with one swing of a Russian foot a 66- match unbeaten run was ended…
The final is decided: Iran v Russia. Brazil, meanwhile, will face Egypt in pursuit of third place.
Goals: 0-1: Makarov, min. 5 (1); 0-2: Nikonorov, min. 11 (2); 0-3: Paporotnyi, min. 5 (2); 1-3: Bruno Xavier, min. 11 (3); 1-4: Paporotnyi, min. 11 (3); 2-4: Bruno Xavier, min. 5 (3); 3-4: Datinha, min. 1 (3); 4-4: Rodrigo, min. 0 (3); 5-4: Rodrigo, min. 2 (ET); 5-5: Nkonorov, min. 0 (ET);
PSO: 0-1: Krash, scored; 1-1: Igor, scored; 1-2: Shishin, scored; 1-2: Filipe, missed; 1-3: Makarov, scored;
Iran v Egypt
The first of the day’s semi-final saw the undefeated Iran take on Egypt for a place in tomorrow’s final. It was clear from the start how much passage to the last round meant to these teams…
The game started at an electrically high pace from the kick-off, with players chasing down every pass and getting away as many shots as possible. But defence was as good as attack, and the alert goalkeepers were kept in action at both ends.
Despite a high quantity of shots the scoreline remained unchanged all the way through the first period and far from being a dull match, the tension seemed to build as the players went back to their benches to regroup.
It was obvious that both sides were desperate not to fall behind and the second period went very similarly to the first: high intensity, but still no goals. That is, until, the Iranian number fifteen, Masoumizadeh, forced some space for himself to set up an overhead which the keeper couldn’t swat away, despite getting a finger to it.
The stalemate finally broken, the game suddenly took on a very different feel. Egypt were chasing and would have to increase their attacking play even more. The second whistle went with the slim lead still intact for Iran.
Quite the contrary of being content with their advantage, Iran had tasted blood, and pushed for more goals, hitting the post and piling the attacks on the Egyptian defence. A second goal was coming and the former champions found it through Mirshekari who came diving in at the back post to poke in an overhead shot that had been heading wide.
The huge numbers of Iranian fans in the crowd screamed with joy, but then the Egyptian captain, Samir, converted a penalty and the noise receded a little as the score sat at a close 2-1… but just for a matter of seconds as Kiani reinstalled a two-goal advantage with a sweet volley directly from the restart.
Egypt mounted some last-minute attacks but the Persians defended effectively to see out the final moments, sealing that crucial spot in the final. Egypt will play in tomorrow’s third-place play-offs, while Iran have the chance the repeat beach socer history.
Goals: 1-0: Masoumizadeh, min. 4 (2); 2-0: A. Mirshekari, min. 4 (3); 2-1: M. Samir, min. 4 (3); 3-1: M. Kiani, min. 4 (3);
Tahiti v Spain
Failing to pick up any points in the group stage, and finishing in fourth position, the Spanish debutants were engaged in the battle to end the Huawei Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup in as high a position as possible.
However, Joaquin Alonso was without the suspended Antonio, as well as his star striker and nominee for Best Player of the Year, Llorenç Gomez, who suffered a foot fracture in yesterday’s match against Tahiti.
Lebaste got the game underway with a fine strike to momentarily give Tahiti the lead, but that would be the end of the Tahitian goal-scoring for the day. Minutes later, Cintas took advantage of a mix up between defender and goalkeeper to equalize for Spain.
A Javi Torres double in the dying minutes of the first period put Spain ahead going into the first break. In spite of the wobbly start, Alonso’s men came onto the sand with a new energy in the second period.
A loose ball in the midfield was struck home by Edu to make it four and La Roja were running away with this match. The score soon became 1-5 when Guisado scored, then Domi added another as the second whistle blew.
When Adri Frutos hit number seven early in the third and final period, Tahiti look well and truly beaten. Guisado picked the pocket of the Tahitian captain Naea Bennett, who was playing in goal, to slot in an eighth. Every time the Spanish pressed they looked likely to net again.
Even without the sharper-shooter Llorenç and crucial team member Antonio, the Spanish scored a grand total of nine goals, as they took their first victory in Dubai…
Goals: 1-0: Lebaste, min. 6 (1); 1-1: Cintas, min. 2 (1); 1-2: Javi Torres, min. 2 (1); 1-3: Javi Torres, min. 2 (1); 1-4: Edu, min. 11 (2); 1-5: Guisado, min. 8 (2); 1-6: Domi, min. 5 (2); 1-7: Adri Frutos, min. 11 (3); 1-8: Guisado, min. 8 (3); 1-9: David, min. 5 (3);
UAE v USA
A win against Spain on day two meant that the Emirati finished above La Roja in Group A, despite losing their other two matches against Brazil and Egypt. Day four saw them take on the US in the scramble for finishing positions.
It was the hosts that were quicker off the mark and within just two minutes, Ahmed Beshr drove in a free-kick from a fair distance to put the US on the back foot. But the Stars and Stripes kept their cool and fought hard to create chances and eventually won a foul of their own, which Albiston converted.
In the dying minutes of the opening period, and after an impressive double stop by the American keeper, Toth, Ali Karim dove forward to head in a rebound , and retake the lead. But with mere seconds of the period to go, the US captain smashed in a bicycle kick from the half way point to level the game up before the whistle.
Most of the second period remained with the scores tied, as goalkeepers flew to keep their teams in it, and posts and cross bars were rattled. But, as he had in the first period, Perera struck again, this time to take the lead two minutes before the second period ended.
The US started the final period with a slender lead. However, that lead became a little less slender when Silveira coolly converted to make it 2-4. A well-taken penalty saw Perera claim a hat-trick and the pressure built on the home side even further.
They started to snatch at chances in an attempt to get back into the match. But Toth was in fine form and the hosts were kept at bay; until, that is, Ali found the net, running in from the left wing to drive past the American number one, taking the score to 3-5.
But time ran out as the US defended furiously and wound down the clock to claim their first every victory in the Intercontinental Cup in Dubai.
Goals: 1-0: Ahmed B., min. 10 (1); 1-1: Albiston, min. 5 (1); 2-1: Ali Karim, min. 1 (1); 2-2: Perera, min. 0 (1); 2-3: Perera, min. 2 (2); 2-4: Silveira, min. 5 (3); 2-5: Perera, min. 4 (3); 2-5: Ali, min. 4 (3);
Remember that you can watch all of the games in the Huawei Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup Dubai 2018 live and free at https://beachsoccer.com/schedule.
You can also keep up with all the fixtures, results and standings right here.