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07 Jul 2019
Portugal, Spain and Georgia top first EBSL regular stage groups of 2019
Dramatic final day sees finishing positions decided as hosts Portugal and Spain go undefeated
The first stage of the Euro Beach Soccer League 2019 is over! Many teams have set themselves in good stead to qualify for the Superfinal and Promotion Final, which will be held in Figueria da Foz in September.
Portugal and Spain topped their groups, sealing final day wins to rack up a eight points over their spell in Nazaré.
In the Division B group, it was Georgia who claimed the topspot, despite suffering a loss on the final day to Denmark, while Bulgaria came out in second after putting five past Norway.
In terms of individual awards, Jordan won MVP, Stankovic bagged the most goals with eight and Spain’s Dona was the best Goalkeeper.
In other events of the day, Valentin Jaeggy was recognised for his 300th appearance for Switzerland’s national beach soccer side, and was presented with a commemorative jersey by Beach Soccer Worldwide Executive Vice-President, Joan Cuscó, the world’s best player, Llorenç Gomez and Portugese beach soccer legend, Madjer.
Spain 2 - 1 Russia (Group 2)
Russia had dropped two points after being dragged into a penalty shootout on day one, but Spain had six out of six so far in Nazaré, and laid their claim to the Group 2 title early on.
Antonio netted his third goal of the tournament in style, setting himself up for a brilliant bicycle kick and opening the scoring for Spain. This was all that split the sides at the break, but moments after the kick off Nikonorov controlled a throw to swiveled an smash the ball past Dona.
Level again, Spain pressed for another and it came from Dona, who hit a low shot through a forest of legs to wrong-foot his opposite number and put La Roja in control once more.
They hung on to this slim lead right into the dying moments of the game where the frantic Russians upped their attacking play. But last year’s finalists were not being broken down and as the last whistle sounded, the Spanish players breathed a sigh of relief.
Three games and three wins for Spain, who top the group, while Russia take second on four points.
Goals: 1-0: Antonio, min. 8 (1); 1-1: Nikonorov, min. 10 (2); 2-1: Dona, min. 2 (2);
Portugal 8 – 7 Switzerland (Group 1) *AET
The final match of the weekend in Nazaré marked the chance for Switzerland to pick up vital points on the journey to the Superfinal. Portugal will enjoy automatic qualification as hosts of the event but that wasn’t going to stop them giving today’s match their all in front of the Nazaré faithful.
But things didn’t go quite to Mario Narciso’s plan at first, as Switzerland’s Hodel tucked away a spinning volley in the first minute, and then a driving shot from Ostgen doubled the Swiss lead before the crowd had managed to find their seats.
Von pulled one back but Stankovic restored the two-goal cushion moments later, cheekily sending a shot past Andrade from kick off. The keeper had a response though, with Portugal’s second to make it 2-4.
However, Stankovic managed to secure a hat-trick before the first break, and after a last-minute goal from Be Martins, Portugal started the second break trailing by three goals to five. Local boy Jordan scrambled one over the line, cutting the deficit to just one.
The hosts were slowly creeping back into the game and an equaliser eventually came when the big number 12, Andrade, fired in his second. Jordan smashed in a freekick to give Portugal the lead for the first time.
But an unusual error from Andrade allowed Swiss keeper Valentin to mark his 300th game in a Switzerland shirt with a goal that rolled between keeper and defender.
It was enough to force extra time, and it was there that Portugal managed to find an extra gear to net two in the last of the added three minutes. Even a goal from Glenn Hodel four seconds from time wasn’t enough and the crowd went wild, as Portugal go undefeated in Nazaré.
Goals: 0-1: Hodel, min. 11 (1); 0-2: Ostgen, min. 8 (1); 1-2: Von, min. 5 (1); 1-3: Stankovic, min. 5 (1); 1-4: Stankovic, min. 3 (1); 2-4: Andrade, min. 2 (1); 2-5: Stankovic, min. 2 (1); 3-5: Be Martins, min. 0 (1); 4-5: Jordan, min. 11 (2); 5-5: Andrade, min. 4 (2); 6-5: Jordan, min. 10 (3); 6-6: Valentin, min. 9 (3); 7-6: Jordan, min. 0 (ET); 8-6: Leo Martins, min. 0 (ET); 8-7: Hodel, min. 0 (ET);
Ukraine 1 - 0 Poland (Group 1)
Poland were yet to win in Nazaré after losing to the hosts on day one and then agonisingly letting a four-goal lead slip against the Swiss yesterday. However, victory today would see them leapfrog their Ukrainian rivals.
It was the men in blue who struck first though, when Zaborontyni deflected a Medved shot into the net with his chest.
But this was part-way through the second period, after a long phase without any goals, which showed just how close the match was. Just a goal behind, Poland pushed for an equaliser but couldn’t break through the Ukrainian defensive line.
As the match progressed into the final period Poland increased the pressure but still the goal didn’t come, and rather than attempt to grab a second Ukraine held on to the thin lead they had to see the game out and secure a second-place finish behind Portugal.
Goals: 1-0: Zaborotnyi, min. 7 (1);
Azerbaijan 2 – 6 Turkey (Group 2)
A last-ditch tussle for points saw Azerbaijan meet Turkey on the final day of the regular stage of the Euro Beach Soccer League in Nazaré.
The first goal went to Turkey when Baris converted with four minutes of the opening period left. It looked as if Azerbaijan would begin the second stage trailing, but keeper Elchin netted a missile which could not have been more in the corner.
There was even time for Zeynal Zeynalov’s side to take the lead, when Sabir sent a low freekick skimming across the sand and under Mehmet to nose Azerbaijan ahead. At the restart Cem Keskin polished off a suburb piece of teamplay with a bicycle kick to make it 2-2.
He then scored a second overhead with just seconds of the second period left, and when Baris slotted home to bag a brace of his own, Turkey were flying. The controlled possession well and pressed for more. With a minute to go Baris volleyed in his hat-trick goal.
With just ten seconds to go, Semih scored a final bicycle shot to make it 2-6 and wrap up the vital three points for Turkey, confirming them as third-place finishers in Group 2.
Goals: 0-1: Baris, min. 4 (1); 1-1: Elchin, min. 0 (1); 2-1: Sabir, min. 0 (1); 2-2: Cem Keskin, min. 7 (2); 2-3: Cem Keskin, min. 0 (2); 2-4: Baris, min. 10 (3); 2-5: Baris, min. 1 (3); 2-6: Semih, min. 0 (3);
Denmark 4 - 2 Georgia
Georgia had impressed in their opening two games and had already topped the Division B group in this phase of the Euro Beach Soccer League, but a win against Denmark today would see them make it three out of three.
Play began with the Danish number ten, Caspar Dorph, opening the scoring with a low freekick. Makharadze netted just moments later but Raedkjaer struck straight from the kick off to retake the lead.
The promise of their first points in this year’s EBSL campaign drove the Danes on against their group leaders, but in the second period the sides were level once more when Ivaniadze was given enough space to curl in a shot from distance.
The scores were tied as the final period got underway but Raedkjaer rose to meet a cross to header in number three for Denmark. Behind again, and desperate not to lose their running streak, Georgia grew increasingly frantic.
As Georgia pressed higher in search of a leveller which never came, Denmark took advantage of a mix up at the back and Kjobek hit a shot over stranded keeper and defender, taking the final score to 4-2.
Georgia still finish the group on top, but Denmark go home with precious EBSL points.
Goals: 1-0: Dorph, min. 9 (1); 1-1: Makharadze, min. 6 (1); 2-1: Raedkjaer, min. 6 (1); 2-2: Ivaniadze, min. 10 (2); 3-2: Raedkjaer, min. 6 (3); 4-2: Kjobek, min. 0 (3);
Bulgaria 5 – 1 Norway
After both sides had beaten Denmark and lost against Georgia who would top the group, today’s game was a play-off for second place. Djambazov met an early corner at the back post to put Bulgaria in front after a matter of seconds.
Norway struggled against the Bulgarian strikers but suddenly a moment of brilliance from Salve saw the big number nine turn in a bicycle kick to level up. But two more goals came quickly for Bulgaria.
First Martinov took advantage of a defender’s mistake to convert from close range and then Filipov made it three at the end of the first period.
He bagged another midway through the second period and there was suddenly a three-goal gap between the teams, as Norway slipped further behind.
Filipov scored one more in the final period to put the game to bed, and Bulgaria took the win to go level on points with group winners, Georgia, but finish in second place.
Goals: 1-0: Djambazov, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Salve, min. 4 (1); 2-1: Martinov, min. 2 (1); 3-1: Filipov, min. 1 (1); 4-1: Filipov, min. 4 (2); 5-1: Filipov, min. 6 (3);
MVP: Jordan (POR)
Top Scorer: Stankovic - 8 (SUI)
Best Goalkeeper: Dona (ESP)
Div. A - Group 1
Winners – Portugal
2nd – Ukraine
3rd – Switzerland
4th – Poland
Div. A - Group 2
Winners – Spain
2nd – Russia
3rd – Turkey
4th – Azerbaijan
Winners – Georgia
2nd – Bulgaria
3rd – Norway
4th – Denmark