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10 Nov 2018
Iran repeat 2013 success to lift Huawei Intercontinental Cup
After knocking out defending champions in the most dramatic style, Russia fall at the final hurdle to clinical Iran
Iran are the 2018 champions of the 2018 Huawei Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup in Dubai after a decisive win against three-time champs, Russia.
The defending champions, and many people’s favourites, Brazil were knocked out in a nail-biting penalty shootout in the previous day’s semi-final, meaning that the final was to be decided between the only two other former champions.
Let’s get straight to it, shall we?
Iran v Russia
The time had come. The moment the whole tournament had been building up to. One of these former champions would be re-crowned in today’s epic beach soccer bout.
Russia came into the final on the back of an historic victory against Gilberto’s Brazilians, putting a brutal end to an unbeaten run of 66 games, which had spanned several years.
But the defending champions were out, and today was all about Iran against Russia…
A hunger for victory was immediately apparent from the get-go as the pace of the game went from zero to one hundred instantaneously. It was Abbas Hashempour’s men who started the game on the front foot, as Kiani drove home a free-kick, which took a fortunate bobble to fly over Chuzhkov.
Russia then had double the work to get back on level terms when Masoumizadeh stuck out a foot to redirect a stray shot into the Russian net. Iran were looking strong and wave after wave of attack fell upon Russia’s defense.
Behzadpour, the Iranian number 12 goalkeeper filling in for the injured Hosseini, sent a thunderbolt past his opposite number, but via the head of Russia's number six, Shishin, just before the break, and the first period ended at 3-0.
Mikhail Likhachev’s men had a mountain to climb as the second period began, but it didn’t take them long to take the first step as Paporotnyi struck within seconds of the whistle to reduce the deficit to two.
They kept up the pressure but Iran still controlled the flow of the game, taking their time in passing and using the keeper well to maintain possession. Russia created chances but then a second Russian, this time the captain Shkarin, turn into his own net. With the score at 4-1 to Iran, the second whistle blew just seconds later.
A chance to regroup for Russia and they built more pressure, flying up and down the sand like men on a mission – which indeed they were. Paporotnyi gave his side a glimmer of hope with five minutes to go by reducing the deficit to two, once more.
Russia ran the Iran defense into the ground, but as the clock ticked, the dream of reliving the 2013 success was within touching distance.
Then – the final whistle went, and the swarms of Iranian fans in the crowd, who had screamed their heroes on so passionately, were rewarded. The players ran in every direction celebrating wildly.
When the chaos died down a little the individual awards were presented by His Excellency Matar Al Tayar, Vice President of Dubai Sports Council. The Best Goalkeeper went to H. Behzadpour of Iran, Zemskov of Russia won Top Scorer, with a total of nine goals, and the MVP went to Brazil's Rodrigo.
Then, all that was left to do was celebrate wildly and pose for pictures with the triumphantly reclaimed trophy. The stands remained packed as the celebrations went on. A special night, belonging to a special team…Iran are back!
Goals: 1-0: Kiani, min. 8 (1); 2-0: Masoumizadeh, min. 6 (1); 3-0: Shishin, min. 1 (1); 3-1: H. Paporotnyi, min. 11 (2); 4-1: Shkarin, min. 0 (2); 4-2: Paporotnyi, min. 5 (3);
Egypt v Brazil
After a shock exit from the tournament yesterday, at the hands of their Russian semi-final opponents, Gilberto’s Brazil came up against Egypt in the battle for third-place.
With their opposition’s 66-game winning run cut the previous day, Egypt could have been forgiven for going into today’s game looking to get a good result.
The Brazilians opened the scoring when Filipe found the back of the net with a fortunate bounce, after missing his penalty in the shootout against Russia yesterday. An early advantage, but two minutes later a twisting, and incredibly acrobatic, volley from the Egyptian number ten, Mohamed, saw the game level up.
It wasn’t long before Brazil came back with to take the lead once more, and it was a sublime overhead from Rodrigo, the number nine, who played such a big part in yesterday’s comeback against Russia.
But the lead was slim, and Gilberto’s men had shown already that they were not invincible - and the opposition knew it. If Mohamed’s first goal was impressive, then his second one was on a different level as he leapt to side foot the ball into the top corner.
The first period finished with the teams level and Egypt were enjoying the game, matching the world champions step for step. But once again, Rodrigo shone for la Verde-Amarela, squeezing a bicycle kick into the corner to, yet again, take the lead.
It was his seventh goal of the tournament and the previous Rising Star winner was in the race for top scorer. It was 2-3 at the second break and, despite trailing by a goal, the Egyptians were very much in this game.
The advantage was extended when last year’s Best Player of the Year, Mauricinho, curled a side-footed volley into the top corner. Yet another Rodrigo goal gave the Brazilians a three-goal lead and it seemed that they had found their stride and a second loss was slipping from Egypt’s power.
A loose ball was collected a fired into the net by Masa but it was too late. The clock ran down and despite last minute chances at both ends, the third-place position was taken up by Brazil. Egypt, finish the Huawei Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup 2018 in fourth.
Goals: 0-1: Filipe, min. 9 (1); 1-1: Mohamed, min. 7 (1); 1-2: Rodrigo, min. 5 (1); 2-2: Mohamed, min. 2 (1); 2-3: Rodrigo, min. 4 (2); 2-4: Mauricinho, min. 9 (3); 2-5: Rodrigo, min. 3 (3); 3-5: M. Masa, min. 3 (3);
Spain v USA
La Roja put nine past the Tahitians in their previous play-off game, meaning that today they would be striving to repeat their heroics, still without their star number ten, Llorenç, who would be attending the Beach Soccer Stars gala later tonight on crutches.
The men in red still had dangerous attackers in their side, as they had shown yesterday and Edu put them ahead with just six seconds gone with a sweet shot.
However, in making the fifth-place play-off, the USA had already secured their best ever finish in the tournament. They were here to put up a fight, and a bizarre equaliser came when the Spanish keeper, Pablo, gifted them an equaliser, as he blasted a shot against an opposition player. The ball bounced back into his own goal and fortunately for the young number 22, the goal went down as Canale’s, but it meant that the USA were level going into the first break.
Then, out of thin air, came a turning shot from Mondragon who sent a rocket into the Spanish top corner to give the Americans the lead. Just three minutes later, an Edu penalty saw the scored levelled at the mid-way point of the game and there was nothing to separate these teams as the game went into the third period.
Something did separate them though, and it was a long-range rocket of a free-kick from – that man again – Edu. Spain were out in front but a reply soon came from the captain, Nick Perera who almost broke the net with a power-driver to level up. When Silveira found himself the space to smash in a fourth for the Star and Stripes, Joaquin Alonso’s men were trailing and time was ticking.
On the game went and, as the intensity of the Spanish attacks rose, so did the defensive work of the USA.
They fought to hang on to their lead and their hard work paid off as, having only ever finished in eighth position in Dubai, the USA claimed fifth place, a huge achievement for Francis Farberoff’s men. First-timers Spain finish in sixth.
Goals: 1-0: Edu, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Canale, min. 8 (1); 1-2: Mondragon, min. 9 (2); 2-2: Edu, min. 6 (2); 3-2: Edu, min. 10 (3); 3-3: Perera, min. 6 (3); 3-4: Silveira, min. 5 (3);
Tahiti v UAE
The first game of the final day saw a seventh-place struggle against Tahiti and hosts, UAE. It was the Emirati’s last chance at victory on home sand.
After performing their tradition Tahitian haka, Angelo Schirinzi’s men got straight to work, searching for the opening goal. They formed dangerous attacks on several occasions but were unable to find the back of the net until there were just three minutes of the first period to go.
Teriitau used his power to burst into space and send a firm shot straight past the goalkeeper. Now trailing, the UAE had to press a little more and in doing so they left themselves open to Tahitian counter attacks, which called the Albahri into action several times.
But with a minute to go, an equaliser came when Ali Karim turned away from a defender to get his shot away. Within seconds the whistle had blown and the sides were all square going into the second period.
Part way through the period, Tahiti retook the lead when Li Fung Kuee struck. As a Tahitian free-kick rattled the upright, the UAE were suddenly looking vulnerable, and it wasn’t long before they were two behind when Taiarui netted a third.
Walid reduced the deficit to just one again, only to see it cancelled out almost immediately by a sublime volley from Lebaste. The score sat at 4-2 going into the final period but it didn’t take long for Teriitau to complete his brace taking Tahiti’s tally to five.
Salem scored a sixth with time running out, and just when it seemed that the hosts were out of this tie, three quick-fire goals, two from Ahmed, a header from Walid, saw them pull the score back to 6-5.
But the last minute of the game saw a hero step forward for the locals, as Waleed smashed in two unstoppable strikes to take the final score to an incredible 6-7 and the Emirati rounded off their tournament with a dramatic win to finish in seventh, while Tahiti end their time in Dubai in eighth place.
Goals: 1-0: Teriitau, min. 3 (1); 1-1: Ali Karim, min. 1 (1); 2-1: Li Fung Kuee, min. 7 (2); 3-1: Taiarui, min. 7 (2); 3-2: Walid, min. 5 (2); 4-2: Lebaste, min. 3 (2); 5-2: Teriitau, min. 10 (3); 6-2: Salem, min. 9 (3); 6-3: Ahmed B., min. 7 (3); 6-4: Walid, min. 4 (3); 6-5: Ahmed B., min. 3 (3); 6-6: Waleed B., min. 1 (3); 6-7: Waleed B., min. 0 (3);
For full details on the Huawei Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup 2018, including results and standings click here.