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08 Sep 2018
Italy to play Spain in Sunday’s Superfinal
Gori hits four against Ukraine as Italy join Spain in the Superfinal while Germany will play Romania for promotion
The stage is set for the final showdown… It has been 12 years since either Spain or Italy last won the Euro Beach Soccer League, and tomorrow one of them will replace Russia on the European throne.
This is how Italy got to the final…
Ukraine v Italy (Division A)
Ukraine were experiencing very different form to that of the hosts, and today’s rivals, Italy, who had won both of their games so far and with a win today, could be in the Superfinal.
Varenytsia’s men, however, having picked up no points so far, were looking to scupper Italian hopes of being crowned European champions. But with the home crowd spurring him on, Gori rifled in an overhead to open the scoring late in the first period.
Zurlo then put away a penalty to double the advantage and the Azzurri were enjoying a two-goal lead going into the second stage of play. Gori marked the start of the second period by flicking in a long pass from his keeper, but then Ukraine struck back, through a Khyzhniak penalty.
Di Palma got the crowd going once more with a fine hit but Khyzhniak wasn’t finished, as he punished another foul with a second converted penalty. But just before the second whistle, that man Gori stepped up once more to widen the gap between the teams to three goals.
Either Italy became comfortable in their lead or Ukraine shifted into a different gear, because they steadily reduced the difference to pull the game back to 5-5, forcing extra time.
But Gori had one more in him, as he leapt onto a rebounded Ramocciotti shot to snatch his seventh of the tournament and another late winner for Italy. Not only do they claim the three points but their place in the Superfinal against Spain tomorrow.
You don’t want to miss that, do you?
Goals: 0-1: Gori, min. 2 (1); 0-2: Zurlo, min. 1 (1); 0-3: Gori, min. 9 (2); 1-3: Khyzhniak, min. 8 (2); 1-4: Di Palma, min. 7 (2); 2-4: Khyzhniak, min. 1 (2); 2-5: Gori, min. 1 (2); 3-5: Makeiev, min. 7 (3); 4-5: Makeiev, min. 4 (3); 5-5: Glutskyi, min. 1 (3); 5-6: Gori, min. 1 (ET);
Switzerland v Azerbaijan (Division A)
The Swiss went into today’s fixture without their big number nine, Dejan Stankovic, as well as Mo Jaeggy, after they were suspended for yellow card accumulation. Schirinzi’s side were also without a win so far in Alghero, and with only a few places at the European Games Minsk 2019 available, a win today was vital for both of these teams.
Azerbaijan burst onto the sand to quickly establish a lead through Rufat, which was then doubled by Ramil. Borer then struck to half the deficit but Zeynalov’s men were running riot and every attack looked dangerous.
Before long, Abdul made it 3-1, and then Ramil scored either side of the first break to complete his hat-trick. Switzerland, who were trailing 1-5, may have been missing two of their key players but they still had Noel Ott, who had returned from a slight injury which saw him miss yesterday’s game.
Ott scored twice in a minute to take the Swiss within sight of their opponents once more. With the score at 3-5, Misev converted late in the second period to reduce the difference to just one goal. It would be an impressive comeback indeed if Switzerland could turn the game around from 1-5 down…
When Ott followed Ramil in taking a hat-trick to level the scores up Azerbaijan looked suddenly shell-shocked after taking such a strong lead.
A superb Misev bicycle kick put Switzerland ahead for the first time in the match and when Borer also bagged his second of the game a minute later, the score stood at an unbelievable 7-5. Ostgen added one more with two minutes to go and the incredible comeback was complete!
Switzerland took the three points against all the odds, and will now play in the European Games Minsk 2019.
Goals: 0-1: Rufat, min. 7 (1); 0-2: Ramil min. 7 (1); 1-2: Borer, min. 5 (1); 1-3: Abdul, min. 5 (1); 1-4: Ramil, min. 1 (1); 1-5: Ramil, min. 10 (2); 2-5: Ott, min. 10 (2); 3-5: Ott, min. 10 (2); 4-5: Misev, min. 4 (2); 5-5: Ott, min. 11 (3); 6-5: Misev, min. 8 (3); 7-5: Borer, min. 7 (3); 8-5: Ostgen, min. 2 (3);
Russia v Belarus (Division A)
Still smarting from their extra time defeat to Italy yesterday, Likhachev’s side needed to win in normal time and wait to see what happened in the Italy game later to see if they could make it into the Superfinal and defend their title.
They began the game against Jaime Paz’s side well, and keeper, Chuzhkov, smashed a pitch-length shot off the Belarussian bar. This was just a warning shot, but Romanov bagged the opener to hand the Russians the advantage before the first whistle.
Early in the second period the lead was cancelled out as the Belarus captain, Bryshtsel, scored from a set piece and it was game on. Both sides had their goalkeepers to thank for keeping them in the game and the attacking quality of both teams didn’t reflect the low scoreline.
Such an open game could have gone either way but it was the number five, Krash, who grabbed the victory with a well-taken finish in the early stages of the final period.
Attack as they might, Belarus couldn’t find that final goal to take the match to extra time, as Russia defended furiously to keep their slim lead intact.
Russia took three points to qualify for the European Minsk Games 2019, but would have to wait to see how hosts, Italy, did against Ukraine in the later kick off to see whether they could make the Superfinal.
Goals: 1-0: Romanov, min. 4 (1); 1-1: Bryshtsel, min. 10 (2); 2-1: Krash, min. 9 (3);
Spain v Portugal (Division A)
Both Spain and Portugal had won both of their games in the lead up to their match on day three. Portugal had handed a 9-0 beating to Azerbaijan the previous day, but it was Alonso’s Spain who took the lead through a sublime volley from Cintas.
They dominated the opening period of the game right until the final minute when the Portuguese talisman, Madjer, stepped up to blast in an equaliser and it looked as if the teams would end the period at one goal apiece. However, Belchior converted a penalty with mere seconds to go and Portugal led at the first break.
But no sooner had the second period started then Spain were back, when Antonio scored his fourth of the tournament. Leo Martins converted a set piece to make it 2-3 in the closing stages of the second period.
But once again Spain levelled up at the start of the next period when a ball which fell to Llorenç was blasted into the bottom corner and the Spanish striker picked up his first of the game.
In the dying minutes of the match, he struck again, finding the smallest bit of space and thumping in an overhead in typical Llorenç fashion, which turned out to be the deciding goals and Spain are one game away from being crowned the champions of Europe for a sixth time.
Goals: 1-0: Cintas, min. 9 (1); 1-1: Madjer, min. 0 (1); 1-2: Belchior, min. 0 (1); 2-2: Antonio, min. 10 (2); 2-3: Leo Martins, min. 2 (2); 3-3: Llorenç, min. 11 (3); 4-3: Llorenç, min. 4 (3);
Romania v Norway (Division B)
Romania just missed out to Mark Mitchell’s England side yesterday in a tight penalty shootout which saw both team captains miss their spot kicks. This means that only a win could grant them a place in the promotion final – provided that England finished on less points.
Norway were, as of yet, without a point in Alghero, but it was Inge Johansen’s side who opened the scoring when Jalland powered past the keeper from close range. Salveson set the net rippling early in the second half but the Romanian captain, Maci, brought it back to 1-2, only to see Salveson complete his brace minute later to restore a two-goal Norwegian advantage.
But Zaha reduced the gap, and when Maci bagged a brace of his own, the teams were all square once more and the final period would be a close affair. No stranger to goal scoring, it was the Romanian keeper, Andrei Paul, who fired his team ahead with a rocket from his own area.
When Zaha widened the gap – which was the 600th goal of this league season! - the tables were well and truly turned. Maci added a last second sixth, and having controlled most of the game, Norway had it all to do again in the dying minutes.
Try as they might they just couldn’t break through again and the points were cruelly snatched away in the final moments of the game. This means that Norway finish on zero points while Romania had to wait to see what would happen when England met Bulgaria later on.
Goals: 0-1: Jalland, min. 10 (1); 0-2: Salveson, min. 9 (2); 1-2: Maci, min. 8 (2); 1-3: Salveson, min. 6 (2); 2-3: Zaha, min. 1 (2); 3-3: Maci, min. 0 (2); 4-3: Andrei Paul, min. 9 (3); 5-3: Zaha, min. 6 (3); 6-3: Maci, min. 0 (3);
Hungary v Moldova (Division B)
Neither side had any chance of qualifying for this year’s Promotion Final after losing their first two games, but third place – and, of course, pride – were on the line as Hungary met Moldova on day three.
Ignat asserted dominance for his side almost immediately, as he dispossessed the defender and converted a one-on-one clinically. Rutai responded with a fine overhead goal to level things up and this was clearly going to be a closely contested tie.
Besenyei took the lead for Hungary as they piled pressure on the Moldovan defense. However, minutes before the second break, Shiopu sprinted onto a ball which seemed destined to go out of play, and managed to power a tight-angled shot past the keeper to draw Arlet’s Moldovan side level again.
Menyhei retook the lead a minute later and Hungary went into the second break with a single goal advantage. Fekete scored his second of the tournament to extend the Hungarian advantage, as Hungary moved into a superior gear.
Ignat netted once more to take the score to 4-3 but then Rutai completed his brace, taking his tournament tally to four, to put the game to bed in the final moments, meaning that Hungary will occupy third place in the group.
Goals: 0-1: Ignat, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Rutai, min. 7 (1); 2-1: Besenyei, min. 0 (1); 2-2: Shiopu, min. 4 (2); 3-2: Menyhei, min. 3 (2); 4-2: Fekete, min. 11 (3); 4-3: Ignat, min. 7 (3); 5-3: Rutai, min. 4 (3);
England v Bulgaria (Division B)
After Romania had beaten Norway in the day’s first game, England now needed to win in normal time to make it to the Promotion Final. These hopes were dented in the first period when Filipov slotted home to take the lead for Bulgaria.
Mark Mitchell’s men started the second period trailing, but not for long, as captain Aaron Clarke won a battle in the penalty area to poke in an equaliser. England dominated the possession throughout the second period but struggled to make the most of their chances and a second goal eluded them.
Eventually, it was Cameron O’Rourke who found himself free at the back post to nod in a goal late in the second period to snatch the lead before the second break. Tsetkov equalised but a sublime strike from Farquarson put England back in control.
They managed to hold onto this lead until a penalty was awarded to Bulgaria with just three minutes remaining. Filipov converted to take his second of the game and England now had just minutes to score if they wanted to pip Romania to the post and make it to the Promotion Final.
Unfortunately for Mitchell’s men, that goal never came and, as the Romanians celebrated in the stands, the match assumed a much flatter pace in extra time. Both teams scored once more to take the match to penalties, England’s second shootout in two days.
Deflated by the loss of the Promotion Final position, both English penalty takers failed to score and Bulgaria took the point and finished second in the group.
Goals: 0-1: Filipov, min. 8 (1); 1-1: Clarke, min. 10 (2); 2-1: O’Rourke, min. 3 (2); 2-2: Tsetkov, min. 8 (3); 3-2: Farquarson, min. 6 (3); 3-3: Filipov, min. 3 (3); 4-3: Younie, min. 0 (ET); 4-4: Filipov, min. 0 (ET);
PSO: 0-1: Tsetkov, scored; 0-1: O’Rourke, saved; 0-2: Filipov, scored; 0-2: Morris, missed;
Germany v Kazakhstan (Division B)
The fight to join Romania in the Promotion Final was on, and when each side scored early, the players made it clear how much victory here meant to them with emphatic celebrations. Basiel scored for Germany to open the scoring, but a Chapanov equaliser just a minute later kept the match balanced.
The first period ended at one goal apiece but both teams created chances that could have snatched the lead. The keepers were in inspired form and the ball hammered against the crossbars and posts again and again.
Despite these chances the match remained goalless throughout the rest of the first period, and into the second. Extra time looked more and more likely as the time ticked on and the match entered the final period.
It wasn’t until the final minute that Korner converted a penalty to clinch a slim advantage for the Germans and then, with mere seconds to go, Metzler doubled that advantage, ending Kazakhstan’s unbeaten league run and securing their place alongside Romania in the Promotion Final.
Kazakhstan will play tomorrow to see if they can take third position in the Division B contest.
Goals: 1-0: Basiel, min. 6 (1); 1-1: Chapanov, min. 5 (1); 2-1: Korner, min. 1 (3); 3-1: Metzler, min. 0 (3);
Keep up to date on all the fixtures, results and standings of the EBSL Superfinal and Promotion Final on the Beach Soccer Worldwide website and remember that you can watch all of the games, live and free, right here.