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06 Sep 2015
Italy claim Gold in front of home crowd
Egypt falls short but claims the Silver Medal while Libya nabs Bronze in exciting final day in Pescara, Italy
Italy earns Gold behind Gori’s four goals
The 5-1 win for Italy over Egypt was a tight battle that is always expected of a final but oftentimes it does not play out that way. This match did. Italy were the first to get off the board but the Egyptians replied to show that they were there to stay. It was then that Gori, the top-scorer for Italy, stepped up and scored his second and third goals in the first to give his team a 3-1 lead. In the middle frame both teams went unscathed but that just created an even more intense atmosphere in Pescara with the hosts hoping to put away the Egyptians but their team and fans were not interested in any of that. Despite the Egyptians’ best efforts to shut down Gori and claw back into the match, they could not do either as Gori scored a late goal, his fourth, to put the game away. The win gives Italy the Gold Medal in the Mediterranean Beach Games Pescara 2015, after an undefeated run through the final. Egypt was a surprise finalist but with their efforts, they have put the world on notice as they have a great beach soccer side going forward. Egypt earned the hard-fought Silver Medal after beating out the other 10 teams for the coveted Silver.
Almost every match for both Italy and Egypt began a little harder than it had to, despite both being undefeated coming into this Gold Medal Match. The early struggles continued for Egypt as Gori ignited the Italian fans and his team with an early goal, leaving the Azzurri up 1-0. Similar to previous games, the Pharaohs responded and were not daunted, this time they used a goal from Hassane to level things at 1-1 going into the heart of the match. Gori who is always good for at least six goals, ok maybe hyperbole is not perfect in this situation but he does score often and in many ways. The goal-scoring machine scored his second and third goals , all in the first frame, late in the period to send his team into the first break up 3-1. Egypt was down but not by much and their offensive tactics were still very sound, utilizing teamwork and passing to try and navigate through the Italian defense, but that was not working as the final minutes of the second frame came with the score still 3-1 for Italy. The second period came to a conclusion without any more goals and the Azzurri still up 3-1.
The two sides were in search of more goals but their defensive natures were taking over and limiting the oppositions’ chances and the period ha spectacular moments from Spada, the Italian keeper, and Issa, the Egyptian goal stopper, which kept th score at 3-1 for Italy going into the final minutes of the game. The Pharaohs were knocking on the door more than the Italians, but the door was constantly shut in their face and they were not catching any needed breaks. The frustration began to set in for Egypt as they were so close but could not crack Italy’s defense. Italy was also not able to get much going on offense but they were content with their lead and they found another insurance goal from, you guessed it, Gori. The fourth goal for Gori made the score 4-1 but a last second Ramacciotti goal settled the score at 5-1 for Italy.
Goals: 0-1: Gori, min. 10 (1); 1-1: Hassane, min. 9 (1); 1-2: Gori, min. 2 (1); 1-3: Gori, min. 2 (1); 1-4: Gori, min. 2 (3); 1-5: Ramacciotti, min. 0 (3).
Libya grinds out emotional win for Bronze
The 4-3 win for Libya over Morocco was a see-saw affair that took until the final minute to be decided. The Libyans scored quickly but could not maintain their lead as the Moroccans coolly gathered themselves and built their own lead, albeit small. Libya did not alter their game plan and each player continued to do their jobs, which eventually paid-off as they were able to send the Moroccan side reeling with a last minute goal. The win was a perfect end for Libya as they lost to Egypt on a last second goal in their semi-final showdown on Saturday. Defeating Morocco means that Libya finished the entire event in 3rd Place and with the Bronze medal. Morocco would have liked a different ending to the Mediterranean Beach Games but a respectable 4th Place finish a great thing in an event of this stature.
The match began as well as it possibly could for Libya as they scored on the opening kick-off and the goal from Sand had the Libyans feeling great about their chances. Morocco is experienced enough to know that one goal does not make a match so they calmly collected themselves and scored the next two goals, taking their first lead on a beautiful strike from their captain Nassim, putting the score at 2-1. The match was heading into the second period when the Libyans decided to knot things up at 2 on a great hit from Edresi. The first period ended with that goal and the teams headed into the second period with the same score, 2-2. Morocco netted his first goal of the day, and in the opening minute of the second, restoring the Lions of the Atlas’ one goal lead at 3-2. The teams played the rest of the period with the same score and they headed into the final frame with the score at 3-2 for Morocco.
The Mediterranean Knights knew they were never out of proceedings and especially with the score so close and it was with that knowledge that they scored their third of the match and first of the frame. The score sat at 3-3 going into the heart of the period and at that point it was anyone’s game. The sides were not willing to cede anything to the other and heading into the last minutes of the match, the score remained 3-3, despite many chances for Morocco and Libya, but the Moroccans were asking more questions. However, the questions went unanswered and it was Libya who flipped the script in the final minute, with a goal Moner, which sent the team crazy, in a good way and sealed the 4-3 Libyan triumph for Bronze.
Goals: 1-0: Sand, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Nabil, min. 6 (1); 1-2: Nassim, min. 2 (1); 2-2: Edresi, min. 1 (1); 2-3: El Mahrouk, min. 11 (2); 3-3: Madukh, min. 9 (3); 4-3: Moner, min. 1 (3).
France gives up opening goal but unfazed in 5th Place win
The 3-2 win for France was stressful for both teams as it was not easy to get past either’s defense, and when they did, it was only for a shot or two. The Lebanon squad scored early in the first period and was very confident going forward but the French squad scored the next three, putting them in the position they wanted to be, to win and with a little cushion. Lebanon did not fret at the deficit and rallied to get back to within one but France was prepared for the fight and they were effective in claiming the win. The victory gives France four wins in five matches and the 5th Place honour. Lebanon had a very strong tournament but could not get past the French on this final day in Pescara, and they finished in 6th Place something they can brag about.
France began the tournament as favourites and were it not for one heartbreaking loss, they would have been in the medal round but their play continued to impress in their subsequent matches. Lebanon was no slouch and nearly qualified for the semi-finals as well and they took to the scoreboard first in this match, getting a goal from H. Fattal, putting the Cedars of Lebanon up 1-0 early in the opening frame. The French struggled to find their offense but they were fortunate to not allow another goal in the first 12 minutes. The game was just about to head to the middle frame when France netted their first goal, with seconds left, to put the score at 1-1 going into the first break. France used just over a minute into the second period to score their second goal and take their first lead at 2-1. The score did not budge, like the two National Selections, going into the final minutes of the frame. France was happy to finish the second period up 2-1, though they knew they needed more goals in the final frame.
France began the final frame with another goal from Beaugrard, his second, and the score put the score at 3-1 for France. Lebanon was still looking for their offensive groove when A. Nassered found the back of the net to bring the Lebanese side to within one goal at 3-2. The fight went to and fro but the French seemed to be comfortably in control but in beach soccer that rarely means much as so much can change in a moment’s notice. 3-2 was the tally as the game went into the final minutes of the game and that his the score would stand when the whistle sounded the end of the game.
Goals: 1-0: H. Fattal, min. 8 (1); 1-1: Beaugrard, min. 0 (1); 1-2: Barbotti, min. 10 (2); 1-3: Beaugrard, min. 10 (3); 2-3: A. Nassered, min. 8 (3).
Turkey holds off Tunisia to earn 7th
The 4-3 win for Turkey over Tunisia had drama throughout and the final minutes were even more contentious with both sides exchanging goals and position from one end to the other. The two squads did not start as fast as they would have liked but the goals started coming and made for an exciting conclusion to the match. Turkey scored first and were on a roll until Tunisia found their offensive spark and nearly completed the big comeback. The win gives Turkey outright 7th Place in this prestigious Olympic family event. Tunisia might have completed the rally had they had one more period but they fell just short, however they earned a very respectable 8th Place in this tough group of teams.
Goalkeepers are some of the most underrated but important players on a beach soccer pitch and the goalies for Turkey and Tunisia had their work cut out for them in this match as both sides were taking shots on goal early and often. For all of the shots, the score remained 0-0 going into the final minutes of the opening period, mainly because the stoppers were playing so well. The opening period ended with the sides deadlocked and the tension was growing for the first goal going into the second frame. Turkey is always a threat to score and it was no surprise when Seyit netted the games’ first goal, putting the Crescent Stars up 1-0 in the first minute of the second period. The Turkish side really picked up their offensive energy and tacked on another two goals to take a big 3-0 lead going into the final frame.
Tunisia had scored plenty of goals in the event leading up to this match but the Turkish defense was smothering and were not giving them many chances as the match progressed. Turkey was comfortable with their lead and they were playing a little more conservatively, and rightly so, as they did not want to give up any senseless and unneeded goals. That attitude did not stop the Tunisians from eventually getting on the board. The goal left the Eagles of Carthage down only two scores at 3-1. The comeback charge continued and gained full steam when Taieb scored to put the score at 3-2. The two teams both looked confident in their chances to win, with only one goal separating them it was understandable. However, when the final buzzer sounded, it was Turkey who earned the 4-3 victory.
Goals: 0-1: Seyit, min. 11 (2); 0-2: Baris, min. 5 (2); 0-3: Seyit, min. 4 (2); 1-3: Bilel, min. 6 (3); 2-3: Taieb, min. 3 (3); 2-4: Seyit, min. 2 (3); 3-4: Bilel, min. 2 (3).
Greece stifles Albania in penalties for 9th Place
The 3(3)-3(1) penalties win for Greece over Albania was a lower scoring afar than could be expected from Albania but the Greeks used their signature defense and timely offense to earn the victory. The Albanians started faster, scoring the first goal but it was the Greeks who scored the next three and seemed to be in control but the third period showed how quickly things can change. Albania stormed back and scored the final two goals in regulation, tying the score at 3-3 and forcing overtime. The extra frame could not decide a winner and the experienced Greek side were able to earn 9th Place in the shootout. Albania earned a very respectable 10th place after the loss.
Greece began the match on the attack and struck the goal post in the opening minutes, but it was the Albanian defense that employed a bend but do not break mentality. This tactic frustrated the Greeks and it led to a counterattack goal from Marvin of Albania, putting the score at 1-0 with only a few minutes left in the opening frame. That advantage quickly disappeared as the Pirate Ship answered seconds later, which leveled things at 1-1. The late period goals came to an end as the frame finished with the same score, 1-1, going into the first break. The Greeks went into the break tied but they took less than two minutes to take their first lead of the day, going up 2-1 thanks to a strike from Papastathopoulos. Greece would not be satisfied with the slim lead and they added a goal from Stratis to take a 3-1 lead going into the final frame.
Albania was still looking for another goal to draw that much closer but the Greek defense, as is almost always the case, was playing tight and looking in control. The momentum slowly began to shift towards the Red and Blacks as they used a goal from Blendi to get back to within one goal at 3-2. The struggle continued for both sides to find more goals but as it happens in beach soccer so often, goals come in an instant and last minute goals are very common. With that being said, the Eagles scored the equalizer with under a minute left to shock Greece and Blendi’s second goal on the day send the match into overtime tied at 3. The OT was played just as even and the game went into a penalty shootout.
Goals: 1-0: Marvin, min. 3 (1); 1-1: Karakasis, min. 2 (1); 1-2: Papastathopoulos, min. 10 (2); 1-3: Stratis, min. 2 (2); 2-3: Blendi, min. 6 (3); 3-3: Blendi, min. 0 (3).
Penalties: Paris: Goal; Admir: Goal; Trinatafyllidis: Goal; Olsi: Saved; Papastathopoulos; Goal.
Malta outduels Algeria for 11th Place
The 7-6 win for Malta was the perfect way to start the final day in Pescara. The teams played a high-energy match but in the beginning, it was great defense on display but things really opened up. Algeria were well on their way to victory before Malta decided they had had enough and inched back just before the game turned into an even higher scoring back-and-forth shootout. The win was the first for Malta and it came at the perfect time as its secured them 11th Place. The loss was almost a win for Algeria, but they still finished an excellent event event in 12th place.
The game tempo was very high to open the final day of action in Pescara but the defenses were playing amazing by keeping the other team from getting good shots on goal and the score stayed level at 0 going into the middle half of the frame. Malta had the best early chance but the goal post saved Algeria from conceding the first goal. Less than a minute after the Malta chance it was the Algerians who scored on a rocket from Arafat. With the score settled at 1-0, the Knights of Malta countered and found a goal from Briffa, which put the score at 1-1 just past the midway point in the period. The teams wanted to net the next goal but both sides could not score again in the frame, finishing 1-1 going into the first break. Defense was at a premium in the second period as the sides were scoring almost at will and going into the final minutes of the period there were six goals, compared to two in the first, and the score stayed at 4-2 for Algeria going into the final frame.
Neither side willing to give an inch and they began the closing frame with bursts of shots and as the period progressed more and more goals went into net. There were goals from long-distance, rebounds, and just plain beautiful strikes. The last 12 minutes began with Malta climbing back in to proceedings by scoring the first two goals and leveling the score at 4-all. It was at that point that the game turned on its head, with the sides exchanging goals all the way up to 6-6, but a last minute goal from Cucciardi gave Malta their first lead all day and it set the score at 7-6. Algeria tried desperately to get the equalizer but the physical play prevented Algeria from getting into a proper groove and when the final whistle sounded Malta had earned 11th Place with the 7-6 win.
Goals: 0-1: Arafat, min. 6 (1); 1-1: Briffa, min. 5 (1); 1-2: Reda, min. 7 (2); 1-3: Meziane, min. 5 (2); 2-3: Celeste, min. 5 (2); 2-4: Reda, min. 2 (2); 3-4: Celeste, min. 11 (3); 4-4: Celeste, min. 10 (3); 4-5: Reda, min. 6 (3); 5-5: Camilleri, min. 5 (3); 5-6: Zakaria, min. 4 (3); 6-6: Riadh, min. 4 (3); 7-6: Cucciardi, min. 0 (3).
MEDITERRANEAN BEACH GAMES PESCARA 2015
10.00 – Malta 7-6 Algeria (Playoff for 11th Place)
11.15 – Albania 3(1)-3(3) (pso) Greece (Playoff for 9th Place)
12.30 – Tunisia 3-4 Turkey (Playoff for 7th Place)
13.45 – Lebanon 2-3 France (Playoff for 5th Place)
15.00 – Libya 4-3 Morocco (Bronze Medal Match)
16.50 – Egypt 1-5 Italy (Gold Medal Match)
Gold - Italy
Silver - Egypt
Bronze - Libya