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27 May 2018
Last EWC spots filled – who’s in and who’s out?
The Nazaré Cup is over and the eight teams who will proceed to the Euro Winners Cup have been decided
The beach stars shone brightly today, giving it everything they had to make the cut and proceed to the Euro Winners Cup. There was disappointment for many team whose campaign on the sand of Nazaré came to an end after failing to qualify for the EWC.
A lot was at stake when CD Nacional and Playas de Mazarrón met in the last match of the day. The last place in the Euro Winners Cup, also to be played in Nazaré over the following days. It was clear that neither team wanted to concede and were cautious about leaving themselves exposed, but Playas of Mazarrón broke the deadlock in the first period and CD Nacional were unable to respond throughout the game despite some well-engineered chances. They will have to be satisfied with second place.
Neither the Moldovan side, CS Olimpia Stels, nor the Portuguese, Costa de Caparica, had picked up any points prior to their final showdown so it was their last chance to claim victory before the sun set on each team’s time in Nazaré. The game was slow to start with neither team wanting to concede, and the first period ended goalless. At the end of the second period we were no closer to finding out who would claim the victory, but both teams had managed to finally find the back of the net, drawing at 1-1. In the end the CS Olimpia number 5, Denis Orbu, stole the three points for his team with a brace of final period goals. Costa de Caparica finished their time in Group A in fourth position.
There was everything to play for in this coming together of Artur Music, the competition’s only Ukrainian club, and a strong FC Delta side from Russia. The winner was guaranteed the penultimate place in the Euro Winners Cup. Artur Music broke through twice whilst defending their own lines well. However, the last five minutes of the game feature gripping end to end play eventually coming to a climax when, at four goals apiece, Artur Music grabbed all three points with seconds to spare.
After both Playas de San Javier and Biblioteca Instrução e Recreio suffered two opening defeats over the first two days of the group stages, and therefore not qualifying for the EWC, they were both eager to pick up some points today. But the first goal didn’t come until second period when the Spaniards suddenly seemed to receive a boost of energy and smashed in four. Biblioteca Instrução, still in shock from the intense attack struggled to hold their own but managed to net twice before the end of the game. The Portuguese side will have to settle for fourth place while Playas de San Javier move in to third behind FC Delta.
The game between BSC Kristall and BSC Academy began with each team having won both of their previous fixtures and sitting comfortably in the top half of the group, with six points apiece. Kristall however, arrived today with a heavy advantage when it came to goal difference, averaging 11 goals a game and only conceding one. The Russian team were relentless and their superstars did what they do best, with Rodrigo and Mauricinho getting on the scoresheet early on. From then on it was plain sailing until they arrived at a grand final total of 10 and BSC Academy, well beaten, would have to make do with third place.
A close fought bout to avoid finishing the group stages in fourth position, made for a thrilling match-up between Varzim SC and SC Salgueiros 08. Despite frenzied late attempts by Salgueiros to battle back into the game, Varzim defended well to walk away with all three point and finish in third position.
The Group D battle for one of the seven remaining chances to play in the Euro Winners Cup guaranteed to be a competitive coming together of class. The two star-studded teams fought tooth and nail from the very start. At the end of the first period Levante had four, with Falfala one goal ahead. The game would continue to be close but the individual skill of Falfala’s Ott earned him five goals, and his team, a place in the Euro Winners Cup.
Littoral Beach Soccer Dunkerquois had to tussle for third position, both going into the game on zero points. After a slow start to the game, where the first period saw the teams scoring one goal each, AD Buarcos suddenly ramped up the pressure and smashed in four during the second period. It was this spell that would prove to be the decider as in the third period each team, once again, scored one goal each. The Portuguese team finished the competition in third place while Littoral BS had to settle for fourth.
The match to decide third place in Group E couldn’t have been much closer. After extra time Montpellier BS and Casa Benfica Caldas Rainha were tied and so they had no choice but to step up and decide the game on penalties, where the French side held their nerve to put away three, whilst Casa Benfica only managed two, and were confirmed as finishing fourth. Montpellier finish third.
The clash between Catania and Wuppertaler SV would decide the group victor and, crucially, who will win their ticket through to the Euro Winners Cup. The Italian and German sides were level on points before the game so it was a “winner takes all” bout. The match was close up until the dying moments when Catania extended a 4-3 lead to 7-3. The Italian side confidently confirm their place in the Euro Winners Cup and Wuppertaler had to settle for second place.
Viareggio had already pipped both teams to the post in clinching the group top spot qualifying for the Euro Winners Cup, but ASP Napoli and GR Olival Basto
went into one of the day’s early kick-offs with three points meaning that, despite being unable to qualify for the Euro Winners Cup, they would play for second place. GR Recreativo took an early lead through Reinaldo, which they managed to hold on to until the third period when Napoli mounted a fierce comeback and put away two goals in quick succession to secure second place in the group.
In turn, the bianconeri may have already secured top spot and qualified for the Euro Winners Cup but if you think that would cause a ruthless Viareggio to show mercy on BSMA, think again. They started slowly and BSMA managed a couple of goals, but as they moved into the second period Viareggio shifted into an unstoppable gear and ended up putting 19 past their Georgian opponents, who ended the group stages in fourth place.
Portsmouth had the chance to scupper Boca Gdansk’s hopes of playing in the Euro Winners Cup by beating them in their final game in Nazaré. But the Polish side, on the back of two previous wins in two days, were full of confidence and strode to victory after putting away nine well-taken goals and clinching the Group G title, and disappointing runners-up, Leixoes SC.
In the day’s first game, Leixoes SC were looking for a win over Sao Domingos FC and also hoping that the result would go their way in the group’s other and final game, to finish top ahead of Boca Gdansk. But their opponents, Sao Domingos FC, were not going down without a fight. After a game that was neck and neck throughout, it took a Fabio Costa goal late in the final period to break the deadlock and send Leixoes, momentarily, to the top of the group table, until…
In one of today many final showdowns to clinch a precious place in the Euro Winners Cup, Casa Benfica de Loures took on the competition’s only Hungarian team, Siófoki Banyasz SE. The Portuguese side opened the scoring in the first half but Siófoki equalised two seconds after the restart. Casa Benfica began to pull away and the second period ended with them leading 2-4. The momentum continued and with two more goals, including a sublime chip from Alan who noticed the keeper off his line, and Casa Benfica de Loures strode comfortably into the Euro Winners Cup.
Despite both Atletico Licata and CF Chelas being unable to qualify for the Euro Winners Cup by claiming first positions in the group, they were not holding back in what was essentially a battle for third place. The first period finished at two goals apiece but then Chelas seemed to find the stamina to push on for three, much needed, late goals and secure third place behind Siófoki who lost to Casa Benfica over on pitch one.
The Draw for the Euro Winners Cup
After the final whistle of the last game the draw to decide where the teams qualified would be drawn was held. Ambassadors from each team gathered to see who they would be up against.
The groups are as follows:
Group H: Artur Music, Catania BS, BSC Kristall, Viareggio BS
Group I: Falfala Kfar Qassem, Playas de Mazarrón, Casa Benfica de Loures, Boca Gdansk
The winners of each of those groups will meet in the Round of sixteen, which will also serve as the final of the Nazaré Cup