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03 Sep 2015
Day 2 in Pescara inspired by last second goals and penalties
France wins in penalties and Lebanon wins on last second kick while Italy and Egypt stay among the unbeatens
Italy continues to dominate competition
The 16-6 win for Italy over Algeria was not slow, even for the Italians, who were looking at an early deficit, but the Azzurri came alive on offense and ended up scoring more goals than they knew what to do with. Algeria shocked the hosts with an early first period goal but after that it was almost all Italy. A big second period to along with three first period goals proved to be more than enough firepower for the Italians. Gori continued his scoring outburst, netting another five goals, which when coupled with his teammate Zurlo’s four, it is an amazing duo to have. The win keeps Italy atop Group A going into their next match on Friday against Lebanon. Algeria will look to rebound against Tunisia on Friday.
Algeria had a tough opening match but if they thought things would get any easier, they were sorely mistaken. That does not mean that they did not have the energy and ability to shock Italy. The Italians were in fact shocked by the first goal of the match, as it was the Albanians who took advantage, however the Italians quickly rebounded to score the next two goals on penalty kicks before Zurlo added his second goal, not by penalty, to give the Azzurri the 3-1 lead just two seconds before the period ended. The second period saw Algeria add to their attacks, but the Italian goalkeepers were too strong and the offense continued their roll, netting another four goals before the midway point in the game. The 7-1 lead did not hold for long as the goals seemed endless and the middle frame ended with Italy up by a score of 9-2.
Goals were like three leaf clovers in this match and the final frame included more of them. Italy struck first but Algeria added another, which drew ire from the crowd, and that kind of emotion, good or bad is a staple of the crowds in beach soccer getting behind their teams. The Azzurri ballooned their lead to nine goals on two separate occasions before breaking open a 10 goal lead late in the match, but the see-saw play continued, however it was the Algerians being on the short end of the stick. When the final buzzer had sounded, it was the home team who earned to deserving 16-6 win.
Goals: 0-1: Meziane, min. 10 (1); 1-1: Gori, min. 7 (1); 2-1: Zurlo, min. 0 (1); 3-1: Zurlo, min. 0 (1); 4-1: Corosiniti, min. 11 (2); 5-1: Gori, min. 10 (2); 6-1: Gori, min. 8 (2); 7-1: Palmacci, min. 7 (2); 7-2: Riadh, min. 7 (2); 8-2: Zurlo, min. 7 (2); 9-2: Di Palma, min. 7 (2); 10-2: Palmacci, min. 11 (3); 10-3: Reda, min. 10 (3); 11-3: Gori, min. 9 (3); 12-3: Zurlo, min. 9 (3); 12-4: Reda, min. 8 (3); 13-4: Marrucci, min. 6 (3); 14-4: Palazzolo, min. 5 (3); 15-4: Gori, min. 4 (3); 15-5: Karim, min. 1 (3); 15-6: Sofiane, min. 0 (3); 16-6: Di Palma, min. 0 (3).
Morocco upends Turkey in gritty performance
The 3-2 win for Turkey over Morocco was a great example of how well-leveled the beach soccer world is. The African side is regarded as a top-class talent and the European side is considered just as dangerous on the sand. The teams went back and forth and while the respect for each other was already there, a newfound level was discovered. Turkey always looked to be in the driver seat, even when the match was tied, but the tension grew as the score was tied going into the final minutes of the match. The tension was diffused, well for Morocco on a last minute goal from Nassim, leaving Turkey wondering, what if. The win gives Morocco six points in two victories, which will serve them well going into their Friday match against Egypt. Turkey nearly won both of their first matches but will still be looking for their first win on Friday against Malta.
One team came into this match on a high note and the other on a low note but both sides had high expectations for this Olympic event and everything was still in front of them after Morocco’s big opening day win and Turkey’s tight opening day loss The first period was very strategic as the two National Selections were looking for safer moments to attack and not leave themselves open to ceding goals. Neither Morocco nor Turkey were able to score in the first frame and the match headed into the middle frame tied at 0. The second period started differently, mainly due to a great goal from the Crescent Stars, putting the score at 1-0 and leaving the Lions of the Atlas a bit nervous. The chances added up for the Moroccan side but they could not find the quick equalizer and as the final minutes of the match approached, it was still 1-0 for Turkey. The Moroccans did find paydirt late in the second period and the 1-1 score stood going into the final period.
Turkey was playing superb in defense, especially to keep the prolific goal scorer Nassim of the score sheet, but that changed in the final period. Nassim netted his teams’ second goal, and it could not have come at a better time, as the match was winding down and the Turkish side still had the slim lead. With the score tied, it looked like Morocco would score the next six goals as shots were narrowly missing, ricocheting off posts, and great runs were happening all over the pitch, but the influx of goals did not come and the score sat at 2-2 with only minutes remaining. The biggest players come up biggest when their teams need them and Nassim falls into that, as he netted the final goal of the match, on direct kick from a dangerous area that left the final score at 3-2 for Morocco.
Goals: 0-1: Baris, min. 10 (2); 1-1: Boulakouaba, min. 3 (2); 1-2: Recep, min. 8 (3); 2-2: Nassim, min. 4 (3); 3-2: Nassim, min. 1 (3).
France finishes strong in penalties to stay unbeaten
The 2(2)-2(0) penalties win for France over Libya was a tough fight for both teams but the defenses were in top form and the offenses came up big when they needed to. The Libyans put the French on their heels early but the French side responded, only to have Libya continue to fight and press all their buttons. The game could not be decided in regulation and headed to a tense extra frame before going to the penalty shootout, which was dominated by France. The penalties win gives France one more point, but they remain undefeated going into their final group stage match on Friday against a determined Greece side. The loss could not have been tougher to take for Libya but they will look for a second win on Friday against Albania.
The battle of unbeatens began with a flurry of French shots but Libya did win their opening match as well, and with good reason, so the score stayed at 0-0 going into the final minutes of the opening period. The nerves of being in a big match set on the perfect backdrop of Pescara beach led to the Libyans mounting their attacks and looking more comfortable than they were in the first few minutes, however much like Les Bleus, they were not able to hit the back of the net. That changed when a final minute goal from Targ of Libya scored the first goal of the match and that gave the Libyans a 1-0 lead going into the middle frame. The middle frame began with many shots that would just not fall for the French and the score remained 1-0 for the Mediterranean Knights going into the heart of the match. The French side had all their shots finally answered, well one shot, and the goal tied matters at 1-1. France was not satisfied with the draw and the score and momentum shifted their way when Barbotti scored on a penalty kick just seconds before the period ended to give Les Bleus the 2-1 lead going into the final frame.
The Libyans may have been considered underdogs to a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup champion like France but they did not play like they were not favoured and thye continued to push the France squad to the brink. It did not take long for the score to change in the final period as the African side needed only two minutes to score the equalizing goal, putting the score at 2-2 early in the last 12 minutes. The period moved on with bicycles and near goals but the score did not change and the two sides looked destined to settle things in extra time or penalties. That is exactly what happened, a draw at 2-2 led to the three minute overtime period. France had the first chances in the extra frame but they did not immediately capitalize and the game could still not be decided and went into penalties tied at 2-2.
Goals: 0-1: Targ, min. 0 (1); 1-1: Lauthe, min. 5 (2); 2-1: Barbotti, min. 0 (2); 2-2: Adel, min. 10 (3).
Penalties: Marques: Goal; Targ: Miss; Barbotti: Goal; Adel: Saved
Lebanon scores in last seconds for 2nd victory
The 3-2 win for Lebanon over Tunisia was a low-scoring result for two teams that were hoping to score big and in fact they both started the match very quickly. However the real drama and beauty of this contest was the heart-stopping nature and the last second goal that gave Lebanon the win. Lebanon scored first and expected to take care of business quicker but Tunisia was a very tough out and scored next, then they took the lead in the middle frame. The Cedars would not be denied and they scored the equalizer and the game winner, to secure the three points. The victory keeps Lebanon undefeated going into their final group match on Friday against Italy. Tunisia could have very well won this match and while that is no consolation, they will be proud of their effort going into their Friday match against Algeria.
Lebanon began the Mediterranean Beach Games with a big win which they made look easy but the match against Tunisia looked a little different. Tunisia did not play as well as they would have liked so that started this match on an even more determined mission and while the Lebanese scored first, that goal was hard to come by and the Tunisians quickly responded with the equalizer and the teams battled out the remainder of the period to a draw as the opening 12 minutes ended tied at 1-all. The match turned on its head when the Eagles of Carthage scored the matches’ third goal, taking their first lead of the event, and leaving the Cedars of Lebanon down for the first time. Going into the final minutes of the middle frame the score was 2-1 for Tunisia but the Lebanon side was knocking in the door. The questions were finally answered when Lebanon scored their second goal with just over a minute left, which left the score at 2-2 going into the final frame.
The last 12 minutes began just as exciting as the middle frame ended, just without the goals. Shots were taken and the crossbars were taking a beating but saving both sides from taking an unwanted goal. Lebanon was surging and in the attack mode but the Tunisian defense was sound, keeping the score low and limiting chances. The match seemed destined and very much looked like it was heading to overtime but Lebanon used their clutch goal scorer A. Grada, who score their last two goals, to take the 3-2 lead with less than a minute left and the match ended with the Lebanese up 3-2.
Goals: 1-0: M. Merhi, min. 10 (1); 1-1: Bilel, min. 7 (1); 1-2: Hamza, min. 5 (2); 2-2: A. Grada, min. 1 (2); 3-2: A. Grada, min. 0 (3).
Egyptians remain undefeated after they dispatched Malta
The 11-2 win for Egypt over Malta was very convincing and showed how good of a team the Pharaohs actually have. The Egyptians played stunning offensively and nearly pitched a shutout, showing their defensive ability. Led by their leaders and stars, Moustafa, Aly, and Ahmed, they were able to build an early lead and maintain a more than safe distance from Malta, despite their best efforts to draw closer. Malta got in the board in the final frame and were employing a more preventative defense, that worked but it was too little too late. The win gives Egypt six points in their two matches and they will look to claim their group on Friday with a win against Morocco. Malta unfortunately have lost their two opening matches but they will have a chance for redemption against Turkey on Friday.
Egypt performed splendidly on day one and they wanted to earn more of those good feelings and they started off on the right foot by scoring an early first period goal. Malta did not act overwhelmed but they were not able to find many chances and the Egyptian attack was relentless. The Pharaohs were able to score two more late period goals and took a 3-0 lead into the first break. The Egyptian scoring trend continued into the middle frame as they notched another early period goal, this one was the second for Aly, and they score remained at 4-0 going into the final minutes of the period. The Egyptians continued their strong play and netted another four goals late in the period to close out the frame with a shutout and eight goals to their name.
The Knights of Malta were down big in the closing frame but they pushed and pushed and the Egyptian National Selection eventually budged, and with the first minute goal they were ready to add more goals. It was Egypt who continued to pile on, using the fourth goal from Aly to push the lead to 11-1. Malta is a proud team and they knew they needed more scores for a respectable outcome, and they scored their second and the last goal of the match from J. Briffa, which settled the score at 11-2 when the final whistle sounded.
Goals: 1-0: Eslam, min. 8 (1); 2-0: Aly, min. 3 (1); 3-0: Ahmed, min. 0 (1); 4-0: Aly, min. 8 (2); 5-0: Moustafa, min. 4 (2); 6-0: Ahmed, min. 2 (3); 7-0: Mohamed, min. 1 (2); 8-0: Ahmed, min. 0 (2); 8-1: G. Frendo, min. 11 (3); 9-1: Moustafa, min. 6 (3); 10-1: Aly, min. 4 (3); 11-1: Aly, min. 3 (3); 11-2: J. Briffa, min. 1 (3).
Albania earns first points with huge individual performance
The 7-5 win for Albania over Greece was a must-win, for both teams really, but Albania exceeded expectations in dispatching the European Division A squad. Greece took the lead first but they found out almost instantly how difficult Albania would be as they found themselves in a give-and-take struggle. The Pirate ship took a first period lead but that turned into a deficit as Blendi went on a scoring spree, making his two first period goals seem like child’s play, by scoring three second period goals. Triantafylidis tried his best to bring his side back late, with his fourth goal, but it was not enough. The win gives Albania their first points and they will need more against Libya on Friday. Greece will look for their first group win against France on Friday.
Only goal differential separated the two teams who happened to misstep in their opening matches, and they both knew that a second day win would go a long way for their advancement hopes. Greece started out aggressive and was awarded an early penalty kick, which turned into a 1-0 lead for the Pirate Ship. Albania were hard-done on the penalty kick as the keeper got a hand on the shot but that was not enough to stop the Greeks from taking advantage of the opportunity. Each passing minute showed the teams’ strong desire to win and the plethora of goals showed that as the sides exchanged scores until the first period dust settled at 3-2 for the Greeks. Offense took a back seat in the middle frame but after an opening frame hat trick from the Greek Triantafyllidis, Blendi of the Red and Blacks scored his third, fourth, and fifth goals, after two in the first, to put his side up 5-4 going into the last break.
Albania had a monster performance in the middle frame from their star Blendi, well in fact his first period was wonderful also, but they knew that they needed more to hold onto their one goal lead. Greece’s monstrous first period from Triantafyllidis seemed like an eternity away as they had played nearly flawless on offense but were still down by one goal at 5-4. The two sides alternated shots and possession in the closing frame but it was the Albanians who next scored, on a goal from Admir, which put the score at 6-4 for the Eagles going into the final minutes. Albania would add an insurance goal, which they needed to hold off the Greeks, as the final score indicated a 7-5 Albanian victory.
Goals: 1-0: Triantafyllidis, min. 8 (1); 1-1: Blendi, min. 7 (1); 1-2: Blendi, min. 3 (1); 2-2: Triantafyllidis, min. 3 (1); 3-2: Triantafyllidis, min. 2 (1); 3-3: Blendi, min. 4 (2); 3-4: Blendi, min. 3 (2); 4-4: Papastathopoulos, min. 2 (2); 4-5: Blendi, min. 0 (2); 4-6: Admir, min. 5 (3); 4-7: Olsi, min. 5 (3); 5-7: Triantafyllidis, min. 1 (3).
MEDITERRANEAN BEACH GAMES PESCARA 2015
15.00 – Greece 5-7 Albania (Group C)
16.15 – Egypt 11-2 Malta (Group B)
17.30 – Lebanon 3-2 Tunisia (Group A)
18.45 – France 2(2)-2(0) (pso) Libya (Group C)
20.00 – Morocco 3-2 Turkey Republic (Group B)
21.15 – Italy 16-6 Algeria (Group A)
15.00 – Libya vs Albania (Group C)
16.15 – Turkey vs Malta (Group B)
17.30 – Algeria vs Tunisia (Group A)
18.45 – France vs Greece (Group C)
20.00 – Morocco vs Egypt Republic (Group B)
21.15 – Italy vs Lebanon (Group A)