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05 Nov 2015
Group Stage ends with a bang as Semis are set
Tahiti will face Egypt and Russia will take on Iran on Friday with the finals on the line for all teams
Iran advances with big third period
The 5-2 win for Iran over Mexico had its ups and downs for both teams but it ended on an extremely high note for the Asian side. Iran took first blood and were well on their way to a blowout when Mexico turned things around and knotted things up, but Iran was helped by the pro-Iran crowd and drew on their energy and delighted the fans with a great defensive display as well as offensive showcase. The win gives Iran second place in the group and they will be heading to the semi-finals to play Russia in the last game of the day on Friday. The Mexican side were forced to try and come from behind in each match and could not pull off any of the comebacks but they will be playing in the consolation semis on Friday against the UAE.
Iran knew that if they could win their second straight match that they would be advancing to the semis but a very competitive and best team that CONCACAF, king of the confederation, had to offer was in their way. The obstacle for the Lions of the Atlas did not seem as daunting after they calmed their nerves and scored the first goal of the match. But the North American side was entirely in the fight and they hung strong after giving up the goal and going into the last minutes of the period, the score remained 1-0 for Iran. The on-field battles continued and the Tri Color saw their opportunities increase but nothing could be done with them and it was Iran who capitalized again, netting their second and taking that 2-0 lead into the first break. Mexico took the deficit as a challenge and started the second period on a different note and with a chip on their shoulder. The Mexicans hit home a beautiful header in the first minute of the second period, to cut the Iranian lead in half at 2-1. The Mexicans did not stop there and confused the Iran defense when they scored the equalizer, putting the score at 2-2. But then it was Mexico's turn to get disoriented on defense when Iran scored their third goal on a great bicycle in traffic that someone got through to put the score at 3-2 for the Lions of the Atlas going into the final break.
Iran began the final period by trying desperately to get at least one insurance goal but it did not come in the early going as Mexico was employing their signature tight defense, though that limited their offensive ability at the same time. Iran was knocking on the door but with six minutes gone from the period, there were no goals to show for the effort. However, past the midway point in the frame, M. Ahmadzadeh scored his second goal to give Iran a seemingly safe cushion of two goals at 4-2. Mexico began to rush and looked for the offense that they had lacked thus far, but with the Iranian keeper, Hosseini, between the pipes, it was difficult to find goals, and that has almost always been the case for Iran's' opponents. The Iranians held off the Mexican attacks and the final score was 5-2 for Iran.
Goals: 0-1: M. Hassani, min. 9 (1); 0-2: A. Naderi, min. 8 (1); 1-2: G. Pichardo, min. 11 (2); 2-2: A. Villa, min. 8 (2); 2-3: M. Ahmadzadeh, min. 1 (2); 2-4: M. Ahadzadeh, min. 5 (3); 2-5: M. Ahmedzadeh, min. 5 (3).
UAE gets second win by shocking Russia
The 5-4 win for the UAE over Russia was a game for the ages, not just because of the shocking, at least on paper, win, but because it was a classic with clashing styles, defense, and drama, which came down to the last minute. The Russians as one might expect, took the lead but the UAE refused to break and they bounced back with a vengeance, taking the lead and holding onto that advantage for the remainder of the match. The win gives the UAE four points, as their first win was against Argentina but in penalties, so the reward was only one point. The Russians finished first in the group after defeating Argentina and the runner-up in the group, Egypt. Russia will be playing in the semi-finals while the UAE will take part in the consolation semis, both beginning on Friday.
Russia has looked great since their semi-final loss in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup semi-final as they torched Italy for 3rd Place and they have been in complete control here in Dubai through the Group Stage and the UAE match was not exactly simple, but it was in the same vain. The Russian had more time of possession and more shots on goal, but without a goal, those mean nothing in beach soccer. The hosts playing the Russians very close in the opening frame and keeping the score 0-0 going into the final minutes of the period was a good sign for the Emirati but as if Russia could sense the UAE were playing with more confidence, they scored the first goal of the match on a bicycle from Shaikov, which would be the periods' only goal. With a 1-0 in the second period, the European giants could have relaxed a bit, and maybe they did, but not before they added to their lead, but things changed after their second goal. The Emirati woke up and scored three straight, and on beautiful shots and plays, to take a 3-2 lead in the heart of the match. With the crowd ignited it was Russia's turn to go to work again and they did, silencing the UAE fans with their third goal but the impasse did not last long as the high-octane Emirati offense scored again to take a 4-3 lead, which would hold going into the final period.
The two-time FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Champions, 2011 and 2013, were not in trouble and they did not look like but the hosts were playing some of their best beach soccer all week and the Big Red Beach Machine did look like they would need to make some in-game changes as the UAE scored their fifth goal to take their biggest lead of the day, two goals, at 5-3. Whatever speech their coach, Likhachev, gave, worked as the Russians pushed back to get the score at 5-4, and still before the halfway point of the match. The Russian systematic approach seemed to be breaking down the UAE defenses but the splendid goalkeeping from the host country kept the score at 5-4 for the good. The frame of the goal was called upon to save the game late for the UAE and the final score ended up being the same, 5-4 for the hosts.
Goals: 0-1: Shaikov, min. 4 (1); 0-2: Krash, min. 11 (2); 1-2: Walid, min. 11 (2); 2-2: W. Beshr, min. 9 (2); 3-2: Walid, min. 8 (2); 3-3: Gorchinkskiy, min. 6 (2); 4-3: A. Beshr, min. 2 (2); 5-3: W. Beshr, min. 11 (3); 5-4: Paporotnyi, min. 9 (3).
Tahiti gets slight revenge in victory over Portugal
The 6-2 win for Tahiti over Portugal was something that the Tiki Toa needed since they had barely lost in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup final to the then hosts, Portugal. The game started with the two National Selections playing conservatively but at the end of the first two periods the sides attacked and opened things up. The Oceanic team scored first but then went down to Portugal before eventually pulling away to secure the hard-fought and well-deserved win. The win keeps Tahiti undefeated through their three Group Stage games but now that they have win the group, Group B, they must not let up as they will be facing a tough Egypt side who finished second in Group A. Portugal will still have two matches left and they had already earned three points with their opening day victory in group play.
Tahiti was coming into this match having won their first two matches but they knew they needed a win to ensure their advancement to the semi-finals. Portugal was coming off a loss and they were just as desperate and in need of a win. An extremely fast paced match would more suit the Europeans but play was neither torrid or slow and no team held the advantage and the score remained level at 0 going into the final minutes of the frame. The deadlock was broken with just over three minutes left in the period when Tahiti slipped a shot perfectly in the upper corner of the net from distance to go up 1-0 but less than a minute later it was Belchior who tied things up for Portugal. The Portuguese added one more late goal to take their first lead of the day at 2-1, going into the middle frame. The second began like the second with the shots narrowly missing for both sides but with three minutes left it looked as though Tahiti would jumpstart the scoring with a penalty kick but the huge save from Portugal kept the score the same but the saved penalty only created the next opportunity for the Tahitians as Li Fung Kuee scored his second to tie things at 2-all late in the period. Much like the first period, the scoring came in bunches at the close of the 12 minutes, this time with Tahiti scoring their second straight, to take the 3-2 lead going into the final and decisive frame.
Portugal understood how quickly things can change in beach soccer, not just from their experience in this match but from their extensive beach soccer history but in this footnote, it was Tahiti who turned things around completely, taking a second period deficit and turning it into a big win. The Tahitians steadily marched down the field and took control of the match, scoring almost at will as the game went on, building a big and somewhat surprising lead against the World Champions. When the dust settled and the final whistle sounded, the half Portuguese supporting crowd and half Tahiti supporting crowd saw Tahiti earn the 6-2 win.
Goals: 0-1: Li Fung Kuee, min. 3 (1); 1-1: Belchior, min. 3 (1); 2-1: Jose Maria, min. 1 (1); 2-2: Li Fung Kuee, min. 2 (2); 2-3: Bennett, min. 1 (2); 2-4: Bennett, min. 5 (3); 2-5: Tavanae, min. 3 (3): 6-2: Labaste, min. 2 (3).
Egypt gets through Argentina to advance to semis
The 7-6 win for Egypt over Argentina was highlighted by great goals and two hat-tricks, one from each team. Egypt had the advantage in the first period, but they did not find it until late in the frame, however better late than never as A. Aboserie scored three times in the first period alone. The Albiceleste were very steady but it was Hilaire who netted their hat-trick, early in the third, which brought the score close, but not close enough as the Egyptians held on for the victory. The win gives Egypt six points out of a possible nine and that puts them through to the next round, where, as they know, anything can happen. Egypt will be playing the first place team in Group B on Friday. The Argentineans finished the group stage without a victory but as the 4th place team in Group A, they will place twice more, beginning tomorrow against the third place team in Group B.
Shots on goal were in no short supply in the opening minutes of the match but neither Argentina nor Egypt were able to hit the back of the net until late in the period. That first hit came from the side from Africa as they banged home a shot that put the score at 1-0. The goal energized the Pharaohs and they were on the verge of scoring more but Argentina was able to stop a number of goals, however they could not stop every one and the Egyptians added two more late period goals, the second and third from A. Aboserie, to go up 3-0 heading into the first break. The scoring picked up right where the first period left it, but this time with a goal from Argentina, bringing the scoring to 3-1. Egypt did not want to let their lead slip and they added their fourth, but first from someone not named A. Aboserie. The three goal advantage dipped again when Hilaire scored his second for Argentina, leaving the score at 4-2 going into the last period.
The see-saw play continued but the South American side could not find a way to get over the last hill, as they continually looked at two and three goal deficits, before cutting them to one goal, only to see the disadvantage balloon back up. The Argentine squad had to force overtime and then penalties against the UAE on Wednesday and while it shows that they have grit, it may have forced them to exert that much more energy, leaving very little left in the tank. Argentina got a late goal to get to within one at 6-5, then 6-6 but it was not enough to win, though it created more late game drama than most people know what to do with. When the final whistle sounded, the score was 7-6 for Egypt.
Goals: 1-0: A. Aboserie, min. 2 (1); 2-0: A. Aboserie, min. 1 (1); 3-0: A. Aboserie, min. 0 (1); 3-1: Hilaire, min. 3 (2); 4-1: M. Gamal, min. 2 (2); 4-2: Hilaire, min. 2 (2); 4-3: Hilarie, min. 10 (3); 5-3: Moustafa, min. 6 (3); 5-4: Simsirouglu, min. 5 (3); 6-4: Hassane, min. 4 (3); 6-5: De Ezeya, min. 1 (3); 6-6: De Ezeya, min. 1 (3); 7-6: Moustafa, min. 0 (3).
SAMSUNG BEACH SOCCER INTERCONTINENTAL CUP DUBAI 2015
16:15 - Egypt 7-6 Argentina (Group A)
17:30 – Portugal 2-6 Tahiti (Group B)
18:45 - UAE 5-4 Russia (Group A)
20:00 - Mexico 2-5 Iran (Group B)
16:15 - Portugal vs. Argentina (Consolation Semi-final)
17:30 – UAE vs. Mexico (Consolation Semi-final)
18:45 - Tahiti vs. Egypt (Semi-final)
20:00 - Russia vs. Iran (Semi-final)