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15 Apr 2015
Group A set for Semis but B still undecided
Extra time and defense were the themes of Day 2 in Seychelles with Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire securing spots in semi-finals
Nigeria awakens late in match for 2nd win
The 4-1 victory for Nigeria over Egypt was the tightest of matches, and even though the score shows something different, the proceedings were very close. The two teams played brilliant defense in the opening two periods and the trend continued for Nigeria as they continued to push for a shutout. The Nigerians were unable to keep Egypt scoreless as a flick from Abouserie got them on the scoreboard. The win gives Nigeria their second victory in two games and they now have six points and a spot in the semi-finals. Nigeria will face another African beach soccer giant on Thursday, Cote d’Ivoire. Egypt lost their opening two matches and in heartbreaking fashion, but they can rebound on Thursday against Seychelles on Thursday.
Egypt showed on the opening day that they are very unselfish players and can play with anybody and the opening half of the opening period against Nigeria showed that it was not a fluke. The Nigerians may have won big against Seychelles but they were not able to score against the rigid Egyptian defense. The Pharaohs looked like the more aggressive team in the first frame, and showed more poise on offense than they had against Cote d’Ivoire. The very quick first period went by without a goal and the teams went into the first break still tied at 0. The Egyptian goalkeeper was asked to do much more than his Nigerian counterpart in the second frame, however, neither side hit the back of the net going into the final minutes of the period. The frantic defending and unlucky or lucky, depending on the point of view, shots against the frame of the goal, kept Egypt at 0. The Beach Eagles got their first goal on a splendid individual effort from Olawale and the score sat at 1-0 for Nigeria going into the final break.
Abu of Nigeria quickly took matters into his own hands and scored on an athletic and acrobatic overhead kick, to double the Sand Eagles’ lead. The Egyptians looked comfortable and were not rattled, in part because they were hard done with their shots, but also because they had played extremely well. They may have fought with the best of Africa but Egypt could not keep down Nigeria for long as they allowed two more quick goals to make the score 3-0 going into the last minutes of the match. An unfortunate own goal put the score at 4-0 and the Nigerians began looking like the tournament favourite that they are. When the final whistle sounded, Nigeria was up 4-1.
Goals: 1-0: Olawale, min. 0 (2); 2-0: Abu, min. 10 (3); 3-0: Emeka, min. 8 (3); 4-0: Abouserie (o.g.), min. 6 (3); 4-1: Abouserie, min. 0 (3).
Cote d’Ivoire inches out victory over hosts
The 2-1 win for Cote d’Ivoire over Seychelles was a defensive gem, for both teams in fact, and even more impressive from Seychelles as they were constantly bombarded with shots. The teams eased into the action by surveying the playing field in the first two periods, before letting the offenses fly in the closing frame. Seychelles found themselves on both sides of the luck, as they were able to block, save, and stop most shots, however they also were not getting the bounces they needed on the other end. The win gives the Ivory Coast four points and secures them a place in the semi-finals. They will look to earn first in their group against Nigeria on Thursday. The loss was disappointing for Seychelles but they still earned fans with their tough play. They will look to finish the group stage with a win against Egypt on Thursday.
Cote d’Ivoire had the closest of calls in their opening win, nearly losing with two seconds left, before they came from behind to win in penalties. They did not want the same late game dramatics and they started this match looking for a quick back breaker. The goals did not flow and it was the Seychelles who saw more opportunities bounce their way, even though the score remained tied at 0 going into the heart of the period. The commendable effort from Seychelles rewarded them with a tie game going into the first break, 0-0. The shots got closer and closer to hitting the back of the onion bag and the Elephants were attacking and attacking but both squads were not able to score and the match headed into the final frame tied at 0.
The two sides began taking more and more shots from distance as they could not get past the defenses, which were more than clicking on their own right. Cote d’Ivoire was knocking on the door, like the final minutes of the second period, but just like the middle frame, it was easier said than done to get that allusive goal. The first goal did come, as their luck changed and the Ivory Coast netted the first score on a touch from Kablan, to take the score to 1-0 heading into the final minutes. The pressure was not too much for the hosts as they kept looking for a seam to get through, but the openings were not there and the score did not move going into the last minutes of the match. Seychelles helped to raise the decibel level in the stadium as they scored late in the match to draw back to within 2-1. The hosts could not get any closer and the match ended with the Ivory Coast up 2-1.
Goals: 1-0: Kablan, min. 8 (3); 2-0: Kouadio, min. 3 (3); 2-1: Maguerite, min. 2 (3).
Gutsy effort gives Morocco win and hope
The 5-3 win for Morocco over Ghana was the kind of match you dream of taking part in. The match started in the sun and slowly turned to night and the lights shone brightly on the two national selections. The drama began before the lights kicked on, but the drama at dusk was a perfect example of back-and-forth action. Ghana nailed the first goal home, only to watch Morocco claw their way to the lead. The determination of Ghana was obvious as they came back to tie things, but the Moroccans were able to score and take the lead again, late in the final period. The win gives Morocco a chance at the semi-finals, if they can defeat Madagascar tomorrow evening. The loss was tough for Ghana and despite eliminating them from the semi-finals; they will have a chance to defeat Senegal on Thursday.
Both sides already knew what they had to do, win and give themselves a chance at the semi-finals. Morocco and Ghana had lost on day one but they needed to secure victories in their final two group stage matches if they wanted to make sure they finished in one of the top two positions in Group B. The scoring began near the middle of period with Ghana scoring first, like they did in their opening match, but the Lions of the Atlas quickly stormed back and scored twice to take a 2-1 lead into the first break. The action reached new heights in the middle frame as the Black Stars tied the score at 2 on the restart. With the match tied, Morocco pushed more and more, culminating in a great strike from Nassim that struck the frame of the goal and Ghana raced down the field to take the lead again, this time at 3-2. Not to be outdone, El Mahrouk of Morocco scored his teams’ second equalizer, putting the score at 3-3 going into the final minutes of the period. The teams played the rest of the period to a draw and the score was 3-3 going into the all-important final period.
Nothing separated the two sides as they scrambled to find the next goal and put themselves in the drivers seat for the semi-finals. Early in the frame, neither team could strike fear in the others’ hearts, but the goal and control finally came to the Lions of the Atlas, as the triumphantly took the 4-3 lead and began to play defensive, trying to save the win. The Black Stars were not panicking but the consternation was evident, as they knew how important the next goal would be. The next goal would be the equalizer or the nail in the coffin, the Black Stars were vying for it to be the former. Morocco played it safe and despite rushes from Ghana, their defense held strong and when the referees signaled the end of the match, the score was 5-3 for Morocco.
Goals: 0-1: Kofi, min. 7 (1); 1-1: Nassim, min. 6 (1); 2-1: Benmamma, min. 2 (1); 2-2: Adjei, min. 11 (2); 2-3: Adjei, min. 8 (2); 3-3: El Mahrouk, min. 6 (2); 4-3: El Hadaoui, min. 8 (3); 5-3: Benmamma, min. 0 (3).
Madagascar takes lead three times in OT win
The 3-2 (aet) extra period victory for Madagascar over Senegal was a shock to Senegal, the defending CAF African Beach Soccer Championship. The game was enthralling and close from start to finish as Madagascar scored first, then scored the third and fifth and final goal, as the game was always within one goal for Senegal. The Senegalese were calm throughout but showed energy and scoring ability when they needed it, but the Madagascan side just made more plays, and ultimately the last big play. The win gives Madagascar five points and the lead in Group B, but they only sit two points ahead of those chasing them. Madagascar will need a win against Morocco on Thursday to guarantee their spot in the semi-finals. Senegal is still alive for the knockout rounds, they must defeat Ghana on Thursday and wait for the other group results.
In a matchup of day one unbeatens, the Barea came out faster and stronger, scoring the first goal, on an amazing shot from distance by Giovanni, that hit the top corner of the net. There was nothing the goalie could have done but what the Lions of the Teranga could control was how they responded, and they what they did was push the tempo and shore up their backlines. The stakes were high and that did not change in the middle, as the knowledge made for a tense middle frame as well, but the defenses held their own and kept the score level going into the heart of the match. Just past the midway point in the match the Senegalese squad scored the equalizer making for an amazing conclusion to the middle frame. The excitement led to another goal, this time from Flavien of Madagascar, restoring the slim one goal lead and a slew of shots from both teams closed out the frame, but none struck pay dirt and the game went into the final period with a score of 2-1 to the Barea.
A loss would not eliminate either side from being able to play in the semi-finals and eventually a potential FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015 berth, but neither side wanted to risk that. The Lions of Teranga were hoping to defend their title, after winning this same event two years ago, and they started the final frame with an intensity they had not shown earlier, and Thioune scored his second of the day to tie the score at 2. The score stayed at 2 going into the final minutes of the match with both teams searching for what looked like to be the last and most crucial goal of the day. The close-calls added up but neither side was able to pull away and the game went into overtime tied at 2. The quick turnaround to the extra frame and the rapid pace seemed to favour Madagascar as Toky scored with just over a minute gone in the frame, putting the score at 3-2, which would prove to be the final tally.
Goals: 1-0: Giovanni, min. 10 (1); 1-1: Thioune, min. 5 (2); 2-1: Flavien, min. 2 (2); 2-2: Thioune, min. 9 (3); 3-2: Toky, min. 1 (et).
CAF AFRICAN BEACH SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP SEYCHELLES 2015
15:00 – Nigeria 4-1 Egypt (Group A)
16:15 – Cote d’Ivoire 2-1 Seychelles (Group A)
17:30 – Morocco 5-3 Ghana (Group B)
18:45 – Madagascar 3-2 (aet) Senegal (Group B)
15:00 – Seychelles vs. Egypt (Group A)
16:15 – Nigeria vs. Cote d’Ivoire (Group A)
17:30 – Senegal vs. Ghana (Group B)
18:45 – Morocco vs. Madagascar (Group B)