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17 Jun 2018
Portugal take Mundialito title after thrilling penalty shootout
Penalties decide a gripping final and Goto picks up Top Scorer as Japan muscle Mexico off third place
It was a riveting final day in Almada and the hosts were well backed by the local fans who packed out the stadium despite the baking heat.
But first there was the case of third place to settle…
Japan vs Mexico
Both the Japanese and the Mexicans had lost their previous two games in the tournament, meaning that each went into today’s game with an eye to grab the last-minute points (or point if the game went to penalties) that had to go to someone. Today’s bout was a play-off for third position.
The Mexicans drew first blood within the opening three seconds, with a superbly put together piece of play, straight from the kick off, as Aleman struck a low shot past Kawai. The slim lead lasted for over half of the first period but then two rapid finishes from Okuyama put the Japanese in the driver’s seat.
Goto then put away a thirdfrom a penalty and, going into the second period, it seemed that Ruy Ramos’ side would be well in control, until Vizcarra smashed home a second for Mexico just before the whistle.
But Goto was just getting warmed up… By the time the second period was halfway through, he had completed a hat-trick (his second in two days!) and when Komaki drove a powerful shot into the top corner, the Mexicans were falling further and further behind, as Japan strode into the final period boasting a 6-2 lead.
This is the way that the score would remain after a goalless third period, which saw some brave defending and fantastic saves from both keepers. The Japanese will finish the tournament in third position whilst Raman Raya’s Mexico will have to settle for fourth.
Goals: 0-1: Aleman, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Okuyama, min. 5 (1); 2-1: Okuyama, min. 4 (1); 3-1: Goto, min. 4 (1); 3-2: Vizcarra, min. 0 (1); 4-2: Goto, min. 11 (2); 5-2:Komaki, min. 10 (2); 3-2: Goto, min. 7 (2);
Portugal vs Spain
The tournament decider promised to be a real match-up of quality, after both Mario Narciso’s Portuguese side, and Joaquin Alonso’s Spain, had won their opening games. However, the Spanish arrived at the stadium today with a point advantage after the hosts were forced into extra time by a Goto hat-trick, yesterday.
Before the beach soccer began, it was to be an emotional day for the Portugal selection, as they waved off their number six, Alan, as today would be his last game in international beach soccer. Send offs over, neither team wanted to be the first to blink as the first period saw some fierce contests, but little by way of goals.
The crowd cheered the hosts on as they attacked but even the extra support couldn’t help Portugal break the deadlock and at the first whistle we were all square.
Still unable to find a way past their opposing goal keepers for the second period, the teams were no closer to tipping the balance in either direction. We had to wait until the third period before the scoring was opened, but when it did the game suddenly burst into life.
An early set piece was slotted away by Bé Martins, the Portuguese number eleven, and that seemed to jerk the game in electric action. The Spanish, suddenly finding themselves trailing by two goals after Jordan put away a second set piece, were chasing the game.
The reply came in the form of Edu, who scored two goals in four minutes (the second of which was a peach of a bicycle kick), and when Llorenç found the net with his own overhead attempt, the Spanish were on the front foot.
But who else to step up and take his country into extra time but the Portuguese number seven, Madjer, who volleyed a perfectly weighted shot right between the legs of substitute keeper, Raúl, after Dona had been sent off for a last-ditch tackle. Even extra time couldn’t settle this score and after the three minute it was penalties.
As Antonio stepped up to take the first one, but the Portuguese crowd played their part with boos and whistles, and a fine save denied the Spaniard his goal. Then it was Madjer’s turn, and the spectators made an equal amount of noise in support of their hero when he buried his penalty and put the hosts in the lead.
Llorenç netted too, and then Coimbra for Portugal, but Chiky saw his attempted fly agonisingly wide and, to the delight of the stadium, the hosts took the point and the title. It was the perfect send off for Alan, ending the 2018 Mundialito as a champion after he made his debut in the very same event twenty years ago.
Goals: 1-0: Bé Martins, min. 11 (3); 2-0: Jordan, min. 9 (3); 2-1: Edu, min. 9 (3); 2-2: Edu, min. 5 (3); 2-3: Llorenç, min 4 (3); 3-3: Madjer, min. 4 (3);
Penalty kick shootout: 3-3: Antonio, saved; 4-3: Madjer, scored; 4-4: Llorenç, scored; 5-4: Coimbra, scored; 5-4: Chiky, missed;
Check out all the results, fixtures and standings of the Mundialito Almada 2018, here.