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06 Nov 2015
Old school and new school to battle for final
Russia is back in the final while newcomers Tahiti earned the right to vie for the Cup and Iran and Egypt ready for 3rd Place Match
Big 2nd period propels Russia into final
The 4-1 win for Russia over Iran was so loud that it was nearly impossible to think about anything but the first-class beach soccer that was on display. The two sides began by racing up and down the side and from side to side, trying wear out the other team and score as many goals as possible, but the goals did not come in the first period, they did however in the second. Though they only came for the Russians, but that did not matter to half of the fans, or the Russian bench for that matter. The Asian side was not able to overcome the four second period goals, three coming from Makarov alone. The win was a rebound for Russia as they lost their last group match, but it was still the Russians' third win in four games, and it puts them in the final against Tahiti on Saturday. Iran had won two straight coming into this match but they will need to revamp their offense if they hope to beat the feisty Egyptian side in the 3rd Place Match on Saturday.
Russia and Iran may not be rivals due to a lack of proximity but they are rivals nonetheless as they have played each other in almost every big tournament across the globe and the only downside to this weekend match in Dubai was that it was in the semis. It began with excitement on the pitch, which just so happened to be inspired by or inspiring the fans, half of which were screaming for Russia and the other half were yelling for Iran. The packed stadium was rocking with the music and getting louder with each spectacular save, and the score remained 0-0 going into the final minute of the first period. The steam powered period flew by as if the two heavyweights were literally boxing and the moment you look up, it is the 12th round and a coaches decision. What made this game better than a Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather bout, was that this was real and actually happening, and there were still two more periods, with the first 12 minutes being the most exciting 0-0 frame you could see. The European side was able to eventually got a shot past Hosseini, giving Russia the 1-0 lead early in the second, but it was only a matter of time before Iran did the same. Unfortunately for the Lions of the Atlas, that goal would not come before the Big Red Beach Machine added to their lead, scoring their second and third goals before the midway point of the match. Makarov would add his third goal, giving him a hat-trick in only one period and the frame would end with Russia up 4-0.
Iran may have lost a little energy when Russia knocked the wind out of them in the big second period, but they were still a very formidable force and if Russia could score big, so could they. Russia's plug-and-play system has worked for years and this game was no different as they subbed in the second goalie, and were still on pace for a shut-out with four minutes gone in the final frame, and the same went for their defenders and forwards, as if any line-up could work against any team. The play began getting very physical as the Russians were trying to hold off the Iranians and Iran was trying, unsuccessfully, to get back into proceedings and the score stayed at 4-0 for Russia with only half of the period left. It was at that midway point that Iran got on the board, but in the end, it was Russia who earned the 4-1 win.
Goals: 1-0: Makarov, min. 10 (2); 2-0: Shaikov, min. 6 (2); 3-0: Makarov, min. 6 (2); 4-0: Makarov, min. 1 (2); 4-1: F. Boulokbashi, min. 6 (3).
Tahiti impresses to reach second straight final
The 8-5 win for Tahiti over Egypt was how beach soccer semi-finals are supposed to be played, with great offense, big saves, and a high scoring affair, of course. One of the most impressive individual performances you will ever came in a losing effort, but it was not garbage time, when a lot of big numbers are born, but instead it was a show from M. Gamal that kept Egypt with Tahiti step for step. In the end, Tahiti's experience, cool under pressure, and conditioning proved to be too much for Egypt. The win keeps Egypt undefeated and puts them in the final on Saturday, all in their first time in the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup Dubai. Egypt will still have the shot at third place, when they play the second to last match on Saturday.
If anyone thought that either Tahiti or Egypt did not belong in the semis of the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup, or any tournament for that matter, all they had to do was watch five minutes of this match. It began with the Tahitians taking the lead but the Pharaohs replied, twice in fact, in the first period after the Tiki Toa went ahead on both occasions. The Oceanic side came ready to play, especially on the offensive side of the ball and they score two more first period goals, the final one was the second for the captain, Bennett, and it put Tahiti up 4-2. However, more impressive was the fact that Egypt's M. Gamal scored again, scoring all three of the Egyptians' first period goals, leaving the score at 4-3 for Tahiti going into the second period. Tahiti added to their lead and were in control until a late penalty was rewarded to Egypt, and none other than M. Gamal took it, the momentum was shifting, but a save from the Tahitian number two keeper kept the score 5-3 for the good. Egypt did not sulk for long as M. Gamal slotted home a shot after a Tahitian turnover, which brought the score to 5-4, and that is how the middle period would end.
The African side picked up right where they left off, and by the Egyptians we mean M. Gamal, who scored his fifth goal of the match. There are not many times in beach soccer, or any sport, where one player scores five times in a tight match to keep things level, but M. Gamal was doing his best to inspire his teammates and keep Tahiti scared. Tahiti are coming off a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup finals appearance and their resolve was not shaken as Taiarui connected a minute later on a penalty kick, which put the score at 6-5 for Tahiti. Lost in the goal- scoring rampage by M. Gamal, was Bennett, who scored his third goal, late in the match to put Tahiti up by a fairly safe two goal lead at 7-5. That would be all that Tahiti needed to hang on for the 8-5 win.
Goals: 1-0: Bennett, min. 11 (1); 1-1: M. Gamal, min. 10 (1); 2-1: Tavanae, min. 9 (1); 2-2: M. Gamal, min. 8 (1); 3-2: Tavanae, min. 7 (1); 4-2: Bennett, min. 4 (1); 4-3: M. Gamal, min. 0 (1); 5-3: Labaste, min. 6 (2); 5-4: M. Gamal, min. 0 (2); 5-5: M. Gamal, min. 11 (3); 6-5: Taiarui, min. 10 (3); 7-5: Bennett, min. 4 (3); 8-5: Taiarui, min. 1 (3).
The UAE inches by Mexico for showdown with Portugal
The 3-2 win for the UAE over Mexico was level for almost the entire time, as the score was close from whistle to whistle and even though it was the United Arab Emirates who finished on top, it could have gone either way. The UAE was able to score first and get the crowd behind them but the tough-as-nails Mexico side did not flinch and bounced back twice, including once late in the final period, but it was all for naught as the Emirati scored last to earn the victory. The win is the third in four games for the hosts and they will play the World Champion Portugal side on Saturday for the outright fifth place spot. Mexico was not able to win through the first four days but in each match they had a shot, and that is encouraging for the CONCACAF winners. Mexico will play their last game on Saturday as well when they take on Argentina for 7th place. Both Argentina and Mexico will be searching for their first wins.
The hosts felt hard-done to be playing in the consolation semis after they only lost one match in the Group Stage but that is how beach soccer goes and the fact that one win only garnered one point as it was in penalties. That did not stop the Emirati from coming out strong and trying to take down the defensive minded Mexicans. The approach for both teams did not work, or worked wonderfully depending on how you enjoy your beach soccer, with neither team scoring in the opening frame. Defense was solid for the UAE and Mexico, and that meant that the offenses would have to do some adjusting in the middle frame. The second period began with more shots on goal, but they were not all on target, but the important thing was that both teams were taking shots and the ball was flying from end to end. The hists struck first when they netted a rebound and the Mexicans needed to find some offense quick. The North Americans did find a spark when G. Gomez put home one of his shots, to level the score at 1 going into the heart of the match. The remainder of the period was played to a draw the dramatic and tight match headed into the final 12 minutes tied at 1.
The UAE tried to put the Tri Color on their heels by starting the frame with a torrid pace, but the Mexicans did not concede any ground and after just a few minutes of staying back on defense, they mounted their own attacks and changed the field position battle by pushing the tempo, in their favour this time. The aggressive play was not creating any more space than normal, as both sodes have traditionally strong defenses, and on this day and in this period, they were up to the task of shutting down the opponent. With just over six minutes remaining in the game, it looked as though the next goal could be the decider and the tension was building in a good way for the fans, and a pressure filled way for the players. There were barely four minutes left on the clock when W. Beshr was given a direct kick on Mexico's half of the field and he made sure not to miss, giving the Asian side the 2-1 lead late in the contest. The least lasted less than two minutes as Mexico scored the equalizer but the impasse was for only a few seconds as W. Beshr came up big again, scoring his second goal, to put the Emirati up 3-2, and that would be enough to secure the win.
Goals: 1-0: A. Beshr, min. 9 (2); 1-1: G. Gomez, min. (2); 2-1: W. Beshr, min 4 (3); 2-2: G. Pichardo, min. 2 (3); 3-2: W. Beshr, min. 2 (3).
Portugal rebounds and will play for 5th
The 6-2 win for Portugal over Argentina was a throwback game for the Portuguese as they relied more on their defense with timely goals from their offense to take care of business against Argentina. Portugal scored early in the game and did not need to look back, despite the fact that the Argentineans fought their way back to slimmer two goal deficits on two separate occasions. Portugal raced to a safe lead and were comfortable in sitting back and picking the time and place to move forward. The win is the second for the Portuguese in four games, but their first since the opening day and now they have earned the right to play for 5th Place on Saturday. The loss was another tough one for the Albiceleste as they went down in each match they played and tried to comeback in each but could not in any of them, but they will have a chance at redemption on Saturday in the 7th Place match.
The Portuguese may have been knocked from playing in the semi-finals but they started the match against Argentina with just as much energy as a final and it paid off early as they scored the first goal on a penalty kick from Jordan. Argentina felt unlucky with ceding the kick but they were still playing their offensive game and were trying to ask questions but the Portuguese always seemed to have an answer. The European side were attacking in the early going but it only netted them one goal, while the South Americans were growing stronger and getting more and more chances, however, Portugal was able to further entrench themselves in the lead when they scored a last minute goal to go up 2-0 heading into the first break. The Albiceleste tried to re-group in the second and were able add to their quality chances count but the score did not change, for the better or the worse, as the midway point of the game rolled around. The two sides could not build any space but they both scored once in the middle frame, making the score 3-1 for Portugal going into the last period.
The current FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup champions wanted to distance themselves as much as they could because they knew that the Argentine side had a history of making things difficult for their opponents, specifically after the South Americans went down. The Portuguese did just that as they score first in the frame, but Argentina made Portugal cringe when they scored again, to cut the lead to 4-2 and start their comeback. However the comeback would not be completed as the Portuguese scored again to push the lead to 5-2 and keep things out of reach for the Argentine squad. The match came to a physical and dramatic conclusion with Portugal up by a score of 6-2.
Goals: 1-0: Jordan, min. 9 (1); 2-0: Jose Maria, min. 0 (1); 3-0: Leo Martins, min. 4 (2); 3-1: Hilaire, min. 3 (2); 4-1: Jose Maria, min. 8 (3); 4-2: Hilaire, min. 7 (3); 5-2: Jordan, min. 2 (3); 6-2: B. Novo, min. 1 (3).
SAMSUNG BEACH SOCCER INTERCONTINENTAL CUP DUBAI 2015
16:15 - Portugal 6-2 Argentina (Consolation Semi-final)
17:30 – UAE 3-2 Mexico (Consolation Semi-final)
18:45 - Tahiti 8-5 Egypt (Semi-final)
20:00 - Russia 4-1 Iran (Semi-final)
12:15 - Argentina vs. Mexico (7th Place)
13:30 – Portugal vs. UAE (5th Place)
14:45 - Egypt vs. Iran (3rd Place)
16:00 - Tahiti vs. Russia (Final)