18 Dec 2011
Nigeria shouts it loud: It?s our home
Beach Eagles made a huge leap onwards after bending all-powerful Brazil to win the Copa Lagos they hosted
Nigeria made history today. The meaning of what they achieved on the sand of the Eko Atlantic Stadium is just huge, and it becomes the most powerful boost for the growth of the sport in Africa. After a brilliant performance, the Beach Eagles knocked Brazil down with a loud victory (9-4) to lift the Cup in this first edition of the Copa Lagos and surprise the world.
The match could not have a sweetest beginning than the one today, with Abu sending the very kick-off move. Getting ahead against Brazil is almost a mandatory thing if you want to have any chance of bending the Verdeamarela, so Audu’s lads were getting along with that ideal script in a very efficient way. And even better things would turn, with the Beach Eagles’ number eight founding the way to Marquinhos’ nets again, just five minutes later.
Unfortunately for the hosts, the Tetracampeao began amending things very soon. Right in the very following second, indeed, Bruno scored his first goal and began a three goal run that would lead the Verdeamarela to turn the score around in the beginning of the second period. Things got then risky for the African side, who, after seeing themselves comfortably ahead in the score, were now facing a difficult situation, with Brazil leading the game in the best possible mood after such a comeback.
But this Copa Lagos, meaning the first top-notch Beach Soccer International tournament ever in Nigeria, was meant to be a Nigerian party, and the hosts reacted to build up a new advantage, led again by superstar Abu who managed to make it 6-4. The vibe in the stadium was already amazing, with more than 3000 people getting ready for seeing the dream of beating Brazil come true, something they could even feel done after Olawale and the brilliant number 8 raised it even further, to an almost definitive 8-4.And it was ‘almost’ because you can never lean back when playing against the Canarinha, but seconds ticked down to erase this conditioner and the last hit by Tale confirmed the African kings as champions of this first edition of the Copa Lagos, in what means the awakening of a new age for the team, for the country and for the continent itself…
Goals: 1-0: Abu, min. 11 (1); 2-0: Abu, min. 6 (1); 2-1: Bruno, min. 6 (1); 2-2: Serginho, min. 1 (1); 2-3: Bruno, min. 10 (2); 3-3: Tale, min. 6 (2); 3-4: Marquinhos, min. 11 (3); 4-4: Olawale, min. 10 (3); 5-4: Abu, min. 6 (3); 6-4: Abu, min. 5 (3); 7-4: Olawale, min. 4 (3); 8-4: Abu, min. 3 (3), 9-4: Tale, min. 0 (3)
Day brilliantly bags last points for England
Mitchell Day gave the most amusing farewell to England’s performance in this opening Copa Lagos, when lifting himself up to thunder an overhead kick in and win the match and the points for his side. With just eight seconds remaining, the English number three found the perfect way to pull the curtains of a game packed with flashing action and terrific goals. Precisely with one of these, Funnel opened the scoreboard, with a great scissor kick that swept his side ahead.
The European dominion lasted quite a while, and it was not until the seventh minute of the second period, that South Africa could level things back, with a remarkable attempt by Penn. But, once done that, William’s side were not to pull the brakes, and one minute afterwards, Gumede turned the score around, thanks to a perfectly aimed free kick shot from the halfway line. That gave the Bafana Bafana extra confidence, confirmed when even managing to counteract Bowes equalizer with a new stroke, by N. Ndlovu this time.
Clock was ticking down quickly, and when things were getting almost impossible, captain Blake found the way to break the South African resistance, whipping a long ball in to make it 3-3. After having managed to disarm their opponent’s resistance, it seemed that Bowes’ lads may be happy in getting to extra time, but the lasts seconds gave room enough to Day to pull a three-point rabbit out of his hat in the most astonishing way to give his team the third position.
Goals: 1-0: Funnell, min. 7 (1); 1-1: Penn, min. 5 (2); 1-2: Gumede, min. 4 (2); 2-2: Bowes, min. 3 (2); 2-3: N. Ndlovu, min. 10 (3); 3-3: Blake, min. 2 (3); 4-3: Day, min.0 (3)
England 4-3 South Africa
Nigeria 9-4 Brazil
1-Nigeria, 9 points
2- Brazil, 6 points
3- England, 3 points
4- South Africa, 0 points