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25 Mar 2015
Quarterfinals set with familiar faces and some surprises
Uzbekistan and Iran get through Iraq and Thailand in must-win games to qualify for final 8 of FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2015 - AFC Qualifier Qatar
Uzbekistan charges into quarters
The 6-1 win for Uzbekistan over Iraq started slow and then heated up; all the while the White Wolves controlled the offensive and defensive tempo. The Iraqi side utilized a physical style of play in the opening period, but that proved fruitless and the middle frame saw things open up but the Uzbekistani team used very sound defense to squash their opponents’ chances. The win gives Uzbekistan first place in the group, Group C. They will face the runner-up in Group D on Thursday. The loss was tough for Iraq as they saw what they had to do and believed they could, but unfortunately their hopes of playing in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015 are dashed.
Uzbekistan knew they needed a win to advance to the quarterfinals and they began with a fire that Iraq could not match, and they slotted home two great shots to take the early 2-0 lead. Iraq had the same hope, win and advance, but their scrappy play early in the going did not equate to any early goals, but their shots slowly began to add up and they looked like a team about to score. The Iraqi side was unable to get a goal in the first period and it ended with Uzbekistan up 3-0. The White Wolves kept the Iraqis down in the opening frame and the trend continued in the middle frame as well. The Uzbekistani offense came alive again, but the play was very different than the opening 12 minutes, it was more fluid and refined as the sides found their stride. When the middle frame came to an end, the Lions of Mesopotamia were looking at a 6-0 deficit.
A big lead can be dangerous in sports, especially in beach soccer, but Uzbekistan did not worry and snuffed out the danger early in the frame, kept the pressure on Iraq and kept the score the same, 6-0, going into the final minutes of the match. The Lions of Mesopotamia did find the back of the onion bag on a curling shot that just got past the Uzbekistan keeper. The goal did not spur the comeback Iraq had hoped for and the final whistle blew with Uzbekistan up 6-1.
Goals: 1-0: Fakhriddinov, min. 10 (1); 2-0: Sharipov, min. 8 (1); 3-0: Kholmurodov, min. 1 (1); 4-0: Sharipov, min. 9 (2); 5-0: Kholmurodov, min. 8 (2); 6-0: Irismetov, min. 2 (2); 6-1: Hussein, min. 3 (3).
Kuwait flusters Vietnam for first win
The 6-4 victory for Kuwait over Vietnam was filled with emotion and passion, as both sides were playing for pride. Neither team could advance to the quarterfinals, but that did not change their outlook or strategy. Both sides put everything on the line and the product was a spectacular match from start to finish. The Kuwaiti Selection jumped out to a fast lead, only to see Vietnam calmly get back to 3-3. With the score level again, Kuwait turned on the burners again to put the match out of reach for the Vietnamese. The win was the first for Kuwait and is a fine end to their event, however heartbreaking their losses were, they had a chance and fought in every game. Vietnam feels the same frustration as they were unable to advance to the quarterfinals despite nearly defeating each of their opponents, losing the first match in penalties to China and the second by only one goal to Japan.
Quality and smooth play dictated how the first period progressed, but early in the period, gold had not been struck, in the form of a goal. The game marched into the middle half of the frame and many clear shots at goal had been taken but the goalkeepers were playing extremely well, but A. Alsaif dealt a blow to the Vietnamese defense with a great finish and that opened the flood gates as Vietnam struck almost immediately after, only to give another one back. The exciting final minutes of the period ended with Kuwait back up by one goal, at 2-1. The Fiery Reds gave up another early goal but promptly stormed back to tie the score at 3 going into the final minutes of the period. The Kuwaiti side found another gear and restored their two goal lead with another two strikes to put the score at 5-3 going into the final break.
Kuwait did not want to feed into the idea of Golden Star comeback, so they began the period with another goal, the third of the day for A. Alsaif, which created the biggest lead of the match, 3 goals, and the score sat at 6-3 going into the middle of the final frame. In a match that seemed a little out of reach, the period was chock full of offenses chances from both teams, and those chances were barely stopped by great goalkeeping or the frame of the goal. A second hat-trick of the match, this time for Vietnam’s B.T.T. Anh, put the score at 6-4, but it was not enough as Kuwait withstood the push and held on for the 6-4 win.
Goals: 0-1: A. Alsaif, min. 4 (1); 1-1: T.V. Phong, min. 3 (1); 1-2: A. Alhamad, min. 2 (1); 1-3: M. Bu-Abbas, min. 10 (2); 2-3: B.T.T. Anh, min. 8 (2); 3-3: B.T.T. Anh, min. 7 (2); 3-4: A. Alsaif, min. 4 (2); 3-5: A. Alhamad, min. 1 (2); 3-6: A. Alsaif, min. 10 (3); 4-6: B.T.T. Anh, min. 1 (3).
Bahrain into quarters after win or go home victory
The 8-2 win for Bahrain over Laos was very tense to begin, but eventually a level of comfort was found and the goals began to flow. The Bahraini side came out firing with urgency and notched the goal, but the Laotians fought back and tied things, before the Reds took control and put the game out of reach. The clutch play of Bahrain has propelled them into the quarterfinals, as the runner-up in Group A. Oman won the group and Laos finished with one win and their fighting spirit nearly thrust them into the quarterfinals.
With everything to play for, both teams had an initially timid approach to the attacks, not wanting to make any mistake or reveal any glaring weakness. The first break in the armour came when Rashed of the Reds found himself in an acute angle after a blocked shot, and he pounced to make the Laotians pay. The score and teams settled on the 1-0 score until the final minutes of the frame when the teams exchanged two quick goals and finished the period with Bahrain up 2-1. The middle frame saw the momentum carry over for the Bahraini side and they scored the first goal of the period, nearly midway through, to push their lead to 3-1. The period wound down without any more goals, but the acrobatic saves from the keepers were the reason and not from a lack of trying on offense.
Laos had everything to do in the final frame but Bahrain was proving a very tough opponent and the score remained the same until Ayoob put the Reds up 4-1 on a tap-in coming from a great passing header from Rashed. A safety in numbers approach, in regards to defense, helped smother the Laos attacks, but defense turned offense again for the Bahraini as Ayoob netted his third of the day, making the score 6-1 for the good, going into the final minutes of the match. The teams continued to battle and the goals kept coming, with Bahrain pushing the tally to 8, while ceding the second goal to Laos. When the match finished, the final score was 8-2 for Bahrain.
Goals: 1-0: Rashed, min. 7 (1); 1-1: B. Tona, min. 4 (1); 2-1: Thani, min. 3 (1); 3-1: Rashed, min. 7 (2); 4-1: Ayoob, min. 9 (3); 5-1: Ayoob, min. 7 (3); 6-1: Ayoob, min. 5 (3); 7-1: Ebrahim, min. 2 (3); 8-1: Abdulla, min. 2 (3); 8-2: S. Vatsana, min. 2 (3).
Japan earns top spot in Group B
The 5-0 win for Japan over China had a play-off feel to it and the two teams came out with buckets of energy, but the Japanese stayed stronger throughout. The Nippon scored first and never looked back as they were able to effectively quiet the Chinese attacks. The win gives Japan bragging rights, due in part because they remained undefeated in the group stage, but also because they took the top spot in their group away from China. The Chinese still are advancing to the quarterfinals but will be the runner-up in the group. Japan will face Bahrain in their quarterfinal match. China will take on Oman on Thursday, with high hopes of advancing and becoming one of the three teams from the AFC to advance to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015 in July.
Japan and China both knew they were advancing to the quarterfinals but the Japanese side got into attack mode quicker, scoring first and narrowly missing a penalty kick that would have doubled the lead. That said, the score sat at 1-0 for the Nippon as the match headed into the final minutes of the frame. The Chinese did not find themselves in very many favourable situations on Japan’s end of the pitch but they did well to keep the score at 1-0 going into the first break. The Blue Samurais got redemption for their missed penalty kick earlier and they made sure to bury this shot, early in the middle frame, giving them a 2-0 lead, and a bit more confidence. The Dragons did not let the deficit deter them and they started an offensive push, that while did not go their way; it let the Japanese know that China was a formidable force. The Chinese were unable to get behind the Japanese defense and the period ended with Japan up 2-0.
Sitting back is not the Japanese style and they did not lay off of the accelerator, however China had also solidified their back lines and did not allow any early period goals. The game remained close, only two goals separating the two Asian rivals, 2-0 for Japan, as the match headed into the final minutes. The Dragons were still not able to find many opportunities on offense and that led to more and more open attacks for the Japanese. The wide open play created a late chance for Ozu, who did not miss, leaving the score at 3-0. Goto added another two goals for the Blue Samurais, to make completely sure they came out victorious, and the match finished with Japan up 5-0.
Goals: 1-0: Akaguma, min. 10 (1); 2-0: Goto, min. 9 (2); 3-0: Ozu, min. 3 (3); 4-0: Goto, min. 2 (3); 5-0: Goto, min. 0 (3).
Oman clears group stage undefeated
The 8-0 for Oman over Qatar was very thorough from start to finish as they were terrific on both ends of the pitch for nearly the entire 36 minutes of play. Oman steadily built on their previous accomplishments and goals, getting two goals in the first and second, while shutting out Qatar in those periods, only to efficiently and essentially doing the same in the closing period, albeit with a few more goals. Oman finishes first in their group and will face China in their quarterfinal match on Thursday. Qatar did not finish with a win in the event, but they will have another bite at the cherry when they face FC Barcelona in a friendly on Saturday.
The opening frame was played at a fast pace, with neither side niggling or messing around. Both teams were all business in the opening minutes and pushed each other back-and-forth, though neither side broke, just bent, in not allowing any early goals. The Omani hit the front in the final minutes of the period as Yahya scored on a direct kick from distance, which was actually waived off and re-taken, but he slotted home the second attempt also, giving the Red Warriors a 1-0 lead. The period ended with Oman scoring on a precise and powerful header to take the 2-0 lead into the second period. The Omani Selection continued their professional performance and added to their lead while still stifling the Qatari attacks, which were getting closer and closer to hitting pay dirt but going into the final minutes of the period, Oman led 4-0.
Qatar found themselves in a big hole but they did not fret, and despite three consecutive shots on target hitting the frame of the goal, they remained upbeat and were inching towards a goal that would spark the comeback trail. Qatar was not the first team to score in the period, however, as Oman netted another two early goals to put the score at 6-0. The Maroons were still running all over the pitch and saw their chances add up, but a hat-trick and fourth goal from Ghaith, making the score 8-0, were the final straws. Oman left no doubt as to who the victor was, and the match ended 8-0 for the Omani.
Goals: 0-1: Yahya, min. 4 (1); 0-2: Ghaith, min. 0 (1); 0-3: Ghaith, min. 9 (2); 0-4: Salim, min. 8 (2); 0-5: Hani, min. 10 (3); 0-6: Yaqoob, min. 7 (3); 0-7: Ghaith, min. 3 (3); 0-8: Ghaith, min. 2 (3).
Iran leaves no doubt in group clinching win
The 8-1 win for Iran over Thailand was convincing and surprising after seeing the other matches in Group D. The final score does not show how competitive this contest was and a much tighter game was expected, though a bit of chance played a large part in that. Iran surgically went through the Thai defense and employed their own clamp-like defense to go along with their offensive firepower. The win secures Iran first place in the group and they will take on the UAE on Thursday in the second quarterfinal of the day. The win by the Iranians also puts Lebanon into the next round, and they will face Uzbekistan in the first quarterfinal match on Thursday. Thailand lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Lebanon in their first match and could not recover, but they showed how sound their team is and will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
Iran came out early and showed why they are a favourite to not only advance to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015, but also one of the Asian teams to do the most damage. The Princes of Persia used two rapid-fire goals to establish the early lead, and one of them was the first goal coming from a goalkeeper in this event, on a line drive boot from P. Hosseini. The Iranians added two more opening period goals and went into the first break up 4-0. The Thais ignored the deficit and began the second period playing as if the score was 0-0 and looked poised to get on the board, but Iran used their skill and experience to withstand the offenses. The War Elephants could not get on the board before Iran added to their tally, pushing the lead to 6-0 as the middle frame wound down. Thailand capitalized on a solid penalty kick to get on the score sheet and take only a five goal deficit, 6-1, into the final period.
The physical nature of the play in the final period picked up as emotions were running high. As could be expected, Iran came out very strong, attacking the goal, but more surprising was how resilient Thailand was playing. The War Elephants could not find the early goal they needed to inch their way back into proceedings, but they also limited the Iranian chances, holding them without a goal for much of the period. Iran proved very efficient at closing out matches and despite not scoring in the final frame like had in previous periods; they still finished the game up 8-1.
Goals: 1-0: P. Hosseini, min. 9 (1); 2-0: F. Boulokbashi, min. 8 (1); 3-0: H. Abdollahi, min. 5 (1); 4-0: M. Sadeghi, min. 4 (1); 5-0: F. Boulokbashi, min. 7 (2); 6-0: M. Moradi, min. 5 (2); 6-1: Vitoon, min. 1 (2); 7-1: M. Moradi, min. 3 (3); 8-1: A, Naderi, min. 2 (3).
FIFA BEACH SOCCER WORLD CUP 2015 – AFC QUALIFIER QATAR
12:30 – Uzbekistan 6-1 Iraq (Group C)
13:45 – Vietnam 4-6 Kuwait (Group B)
15:00 – Bahrain 8-2 Laos (Group A)
17:30 – Japan 5-0 China (Group B)
18:45 – Qatar 0-8 Oman (Group A)
20:00 – Iran 8-1 Thailand (Group D)
16:15 – Uzbekistan vs. Lebanon (Quarterfinals)
17:30 – Iran vs. UAE (Quarterfinals)
18:45 – Oman vs. China (Quarterfinals)
20:00 – Japan vs. Bahrain (Quarterfinals)